CHICAGO — The Chicago police officer who grabbed a Black woman as she walked her dog in Lincoln Park has been put on desk duty.
The officer, whose identity has not yet been publicly confirmed, was put on administrative leave Monday morning, a police spokesperson said in an emailed statement. Supt. David Brown said earlier in the day that move is akin to having an officer “sit at a desk.”
The incident is also being investigated by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability. The agency had urged the Police Department to relieve the officer of police powers — which Brown said he reserves for serious cases where it appears the officer could be fired — or put him on administrative duties while its officials investigate.
Videos from the confrontation — which show an officer walking closely after Nikkita Brown, grabbing her and holding her as she tried to leave the park near North Avenue Beach — have spread quickly on social media.
“I was quite disturbed by what I saw,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at an unrelated news conference. “It looked like the woman was following the direction of the officer and leaving the beach. … This is a pretty straightforward matter. It’s concerning what we saw in the video.”
Nikkita Brown’s attorney — Keenan Saulter, who is also representing Anjanette Young, the woman whose home police wrongfully raided — said the Police Department hadn’t given Brown a copy of her police report and his office needs help identifying the officer.
“This was an obvious case of racial profiling,” Saulter’s office said in a news release. “Ms. Brown is suffering from emotional trauma as a result of this brutal, unprovoked and unlawful attack by this Chicago Police Department officer.”
About 12:12 a.m. Saturday, Nikkita Brown was walking her dog near North Avenue beach when an officer walked up to her, according to Saulter’s office. The officer said he was confronting her because the park was supposed to be closed, according to Saulter law office.
She told the officer she was leaving the park asked him to stay socially distant because he was not wearing a mask, but he ignored her request, according to Saulter’s office.
Video shows Nikkita Brown asking the officer to stay distant and saying she’s leaving the park, but the officer tells her he’s going to handcuff her and doesn’t need to wear a mask since they are outside.
She recorded the officer with her phone as she tried to leave, but the officer attacked her, according to her attorney’s office.
Video shows her walking away from the officer as he walked after her, waving his arms at her.
At one point, she stops walking and appears to be using her phone. The officer tries to grab the phone from her hands and then grabs her arms as she screams for him to “let go” and tries to get away. He wraps his arms around her holds her.
Brown’s small dog gets yanked around during the encounter as the officer grabbed her, and Brown’s phone gets knocked out of her hands.
The officer lets Brown go and she picks up her belongings and walks away while the officer watches.
There were other people walking in the park when the officer chose to stop Brown, including a group of four white people she saw behind her, according to Saulter’s office. Witnesses who were in the area recorded video of the confrontation.
During a news conference Monday morning, David Brown he’d only received preliminary information about the incident. He asked for people to allow COPA to investigate.
“We don’t have the person’s full accounting of what happened, why it happened, what was said,” David Brown said. “Nor do we have the full accounting of the officer’s statement.”
COPA is asking anyone who has additional information or video regarding this incident to contact them at chicagocopa.org or by calling 312-746-3609.
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