CHICAGO – A Chicago police officer has been assigned administrative duties after videos appear to show him catching a woman walking her dog on a beach screaming and struggling to get free.
Keenan Saulter, the woman’s attorney, Nikkita Brown, said her client was “violently attacked” by the officer just after midnight on Saturday morning. In a statement, Saulter said the officer approached Brown,who is Black, because she was in Lincoln Park after the park closed.
“It was a clear case of racial profiling,” Saulter said.
Saulter said his client intended to file a “formal complaint” with the city.
At a press conference on Monday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she was “quite disturbed” by what she saw in the video.
“It looked like the woman was following the officer’s direction and leaving the beach,” Lightfoot said, adding that the woman “just seemed to innocently walk her dog and leave the park.”
Police Superintendent David Brown has ordered the officer, who has not been publicly identified, to be assigned to administrative duties, the department said on Monday. The Civil Police Accountability Office, the city’s civilian police oversight agency, was investigating the incident.
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Saulter shared three videos of the incident.
A two-minute video taken from inside a vehicle appears to show a white officer walking towards Brown, causing her to leave the beach. At one point, the officer throws himself on her phone and twists her arm as she begins to scream, dropping her phone and losing her shoes. The officer restrained Brown for over a minute before releasing her.
Another 22-second cell phone video captured by Brown, appears to show the officer walking towards her as she says, “Please respect my space. It’s COVID. Six feet. You don’t have to. no mask. “
A third video taken by passers-by appears to show the officer wrapping his arms around Brown and throwing her onto the beach as she screams and her dog is pulled by a leash. At least two passers-by can be heard commenting on the scene.
“Fro, what’s that? He’s a cop? He’s stumbling, bro,” said one of them, adding, “It’s Chicago.”
Another one can be heard shouting at the officer, “Hey, relax! Let her go ! Relax !
After the incident, Brown returned home and called 911, according to Saulter. An officer came to her home and took a report while she was still “traumatized by this encounter,” Saulter said.
“Ms. Brown suffers emotional trauma as a result of this brutal, unprovoked and unlawful attack by this officer from the Chicago Police Department,” Saulter said.
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Lightfoot called on COPA, the monitoring agency, to “use all deliberate speed to come to a resolution so that we know exactly what happened.”
“It’s a pretty straightforward question. It relates to what we saw on the video,” Lightfoot said.
The surveillance agency said it obtained and examined video from the camera worn on the officer’s body, probed the scene and identified several cameras in the area that may have captured the incident. The agency said it had submitted requests for the videos.
“We are committed to conducting a fair, timely and objective investigation to determine whether the actions of the subject officer are consistent with departmental policy and training,” COPA Acting Chief Andrea Kersten said in a press release Monday.
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The Chicago Police Department has long come under scrutiny for its practices. A Justice Department investigation released in 2017 found the department to be plagued by widespread racial prejudice, as well as excessive use of force, poor training and reckless supervision of officers accused of misconduct. .
The department launched an investigation in the department after a white policeman shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014, sparking nationwide outrage when the city released video of the shooting a year later. .
Follow late-breaking reporter Grace Hauck on Twitter @grace_hauck.
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