LINCOLN PARK — Newly released body-camera footage shows the night a police officer grabbed a Black woman as she walked her dog last month along the lakefront.
The incident happened Aug. 28 as Nikkita Brown walked in a park near North Avenue Beach. Video of the struggle was released Thursday by Brown’s lawyers; while prior videos showed the confrontation from afar, the police footage shows how the officer told Brown to leave and threatened to arrest her as she walked and asked him to keep distant.
Brown was walking her dog when an officer walked up to her and told her the beach was closed, said Keenan Saulter, her attorney.
The new video starts with Brown asking the unmasked officer to “please respect my space” as he comes near her.
“Respect your space? I’m about to put handcuffs on you,” the officer tells Brown.
“You do not have a mask on,” Brown says.
“I don’t need a mask. I’m outside,” the officer tells her. A moment later, he tells her, “The exit is that way. You need to exit.”
“Please, back up,” Brown says. “Back up.”
“Get out of the park! What do you not understand about that?” the officer yells at Brown as he follows her. “The park is closed. You are trespassing on city property, and you will go to jail if you don’t take your dog and leave.”
Brown continues to ask the officer to stay away from her due to her COVID-19 concerns and tells the officer he is spitting on her, which he denies. The officer tells her to keep walking.
“You need to move away from me,” Brown says as she walks. “I feel threatened.”
“Good!” the officer says. “I’m about to put handcuffs on you if you don’t keep walking.”
Watch the video:
Brown, still asking the officer to back away, stops for a few moments and uses her phone. The officer then grabs her.
“Let go! Let go!” Brown screams as she and the officer struggle. “Let go! I’m leaving. Get off of me.”
“You don’t understand your situation, do you?” the officer says.
The officer can then be heard telling Brown if he handcuffs her she’ll go to jail and lose her dog.
“You’re under arrest,” the officer says.
Brown then says she was leaving and was facing the exit of the park when the officer grabbed her. She tells the officer she was trying to leave and tells him to let her go.
The officer then released Brown.
The cop’s body camera appears to fall off of him during the scuffle, and the video ends with Brown asking for the officer’s name and badge number.
Brown’s video of the confrontation:
Brown reported the incident to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which opened an investigation. The officer, who Block Club is not identifying because he hasn’t been criminally charged, was put on administrative leave last month, according to a police spokesperson.
After the confrontation, Brown called 911 to report the incident to a police sergeant. Audio of that call was released last week by Saulter’s office and depicts a distraught Brown telling the dispatcher she was “harassed” by an officer.
“I was profiled. I was threatened,” Brown tells the dispatcher, who asks if the cop drew any weapons.
Brown says he didn’t, but says, “He tried to drop me on several occasions.”
“I asked for my space. He did not have on a mask,” Brown tells the dispatcher.
The call ends with Brown in tears as the dispatcher tells her she can report the incident to the COPA and that a sergeant is on the way.
Listen to the call:
Saulter, who is also representing Anjanette Young, the woman whose home police wrongfully raided, has said the incident was “an obvious case of racial profiling.”
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.
“Ms. Brown is suffering from the emotional trauma as a result of this brutal, unprovoked and unlawful attack by this Chicago Police Department officer,” Saulter previously said.
Block Club’s Justin Laurence contributed.
Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.
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