A white Chicago police officer has been put on administrative duty after video showed him grabbing a black woman as she walked her dog on a closed beach, department officials said.
Footage shows the woman, identified by her attorney as Nikkita Brown, being confronted by the unidentified white officer early Saturday as she strolled along North Avenue Beach with her pooch — about an hour after the beach had closed at 11 p.m. Friday, CBS Chicago reported.
The officer appears to be telling Brown to get off the beach before grabbing at her phone, setting off a struggle between the pair. The woman’s dog is seen hopping at the officer’s feet as she repeatedly screams “Let go,” the clip shows.
The pair eventually separate — with Brown walking away with her dog — but she later called 911, claiming she was racially profiled. Her attorneys insist the officer saw other white beach-goers but decided to approach her, CBS Chicago reported.
Attorney Keenan Saulter told the Chicago Tribune Brown was leaving as ordered when she asked the unmasked cop to stay 6 feet away due to concerns about COVID-19, leading the officer to ignore and mock her request.
Brown was trying to record the interaction when the cop “violently” attacked her for “absolutely no reason,” Saulter said.
“He attempts to tackle her, all while groping her body as she screams for help,” Saulter said.
“This unprovoked attack lasts for approximately two minutes, during this time Ms. Brown’s phone is knocked from her hands and she is knocked out of her shoes.”
Saulter said Brown is traumatized by the encounter at the Lake Michigan beach, where dogs are not allowed, according to its website.
But the caught-on-camera confrontation also “deeply concerned” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, she said earlier this week.
“I am aware of the incident and it is currently under investigation,” Lightfoot tweeted Monday.
Chicago cops said they learned of the footage Sunday and referred the matter to an independent police oversight board. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability recommended that the officer be relieved of police power or put on administrative duty as an investigation continues.
“We have a responsibility to investigate allegations of police misconduct and determine if they are well-founded based on the facts and evidence of each case,” Interim COPA Chief Andrea Kersten said.
“If violations did occur, COPA will hold the officer accountable.”
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown put the officer on paid desk duty Monday, the Tribune reported. The apparent closure of the beach earlier that evening “precipitated the interaction” between the officer and the woman, Brown said.
“We don’t yet know what was done or said,” Brown told reporters. “All we know is that this person was not arrested.”
The officer, who reportedly works in the department’s traffic unit, has been identified internally, the Tribune reported.
“I would just ask the public to allow COPA to do its job and get to the bottom of what happened,” Brown said Monday. “I know it’s frustrating for the public to wait once you see a viral video.”