A Chicago police officer is under investigation after an encounter with a Black woman in the city’s Lincoln Park neighborhood was caught on camera, ABC 7 Chicago reported.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) is investigating the video, which shows a white officer struggling with a Black woman who was walking her dog at North Avenue Beach. The woman can be heard in the video screaming for help as the officer physically accosts her.
“If we had no video camera, what would have happened to this woman?” witness Troy Gaston, who recorded the altercation on his cellphone, said.
Local activists were also enraged by the footage, noting that they are “sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
“What you saw was exactly what happens to us everyday,” Lamar Woodfield of the No More Foundation said. “Black men and women.”
The woman in the video was identified as Nikkita Brown and according to her attorney’s, was asked to vacate the premises because the beach was closed. Brown mentioned that there were other people walking around the beach at the time that she was, but felt targeted because she is Black.
“For some reason, this officer decided to specifically interact, and then ultimately address and attack Ms. Brown,” Keenan Saulter, Brown’s attorney, said. “She was always in the process of leaving. She was always walking out of the park.”
Brown’s attorneys also mentioned that she left the incident feeling traumatized.
After the video began circulating on social media, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown now has the option to either relieve the officer, who has yet to be identified, of his police powers or place him on administrative duties.
“What we do know is there was some closure of the beach, apparently, that preceded this interaction,” Superintendent Brown said during a news conference on Monday. “That is the extent of what we know. We don’t have an arrest apparently by this officer and don’t fully understand because we have not interviewed this officer and COPA will be in charge of that interview. I believe Copa has reached out to the person you see on video walking the dog that had a struggle with the officer. I believe they are initiating that conversation.”
The superintendent expects to come to a resolution after receiving another update on the investigation.