CHICAGO — The city’s police oversight agency has finished its investigation into a police officer who grabbed a Black woman walking her dog along the lakefront, and now Supt. David Brown must decide what discipline — if any — he will recommend.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability has sent its findings from the Aug. 28 incident involving Nikkita Brown to the superintendent’s office for review, but agency officials did not disclose the results of their investigation.
The incident occurred as Nikkita Brown walked in a park near North Avenue Beach late at night. Videos from her attorney and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability show the officer confronting her and telling her he would arrest her if she didn’t leave the beach, which was closed at the time.
Brown began to walk toward the park’s exit as the officer followed her and she asked him to stay away. When she stopped to use her phone, the officer grabbed her; after a struggle, during which she pleaded to be let go, he released her, video shows.
Brown was not charged with a crime or arrested. She filed a complaint with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and the officer has been on administrative duty pending the investigation.
If the police oversight agency’s chief administrator recommended discipline for the officer, Brown and his command staff have 60 days to respond to the findings. What happens from there and whether the Chicago Police Board gets involved depends on whether the superintendent and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability can agree on discipline, and if the proposed discipline is a suspension or firing.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability has been criticized for not completing its investigations quickly and for not being transparent when it will release evidence of wrongdoing. Interim COPA Administrator Andrea Kersten was grilled about that during budget hearings earlier this month, and said investigators would “steadily decrease the amount of time it takes to close cases.”
“COPA’s commitment to objective and timely investigations based on the evidence and facts of each case is and will remain a top priority,” Kersten said in a statement Thursday. “Our ability to conclude this investigation within 60 days is a testament to the significant effort of staff from various departments within our agency and the fulfillment of our mandate as an investigative body to timely and justly conduct investigations that provide answers to the broader Chicago community we serve.”
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