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Chicago police officer accused of attacking Black woman walking dog near North Avenue Beach; COPA investigating – WLS-TV

CHICAGO (WLS) — The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is investigating a video that appears to show an altercation between a Black woman walking her dog and a Chicago police officer along the city’s lakefront.

In cellphone video recorded early Saturday morning at North Avenue Beach in the city’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, a woman can be heard screaming for help as she struggles with a CPD officer.

The woman’s attorney said the altercation began after the officer seen in the video allegedly asks the woman to leave the beach because it was closed.

Following that order, the video shows an altercation between the two.

WATCH: Video shows altercation between CPD officer, Black woman walking dog

“For some reason, this officer decided to specifically interact, and then ultimately address and attack Ms. Brown,” said Keenan Saulter, the woman’s attorney.

Saulter identified the woman as Nikkita Brown and said she is traumatized from the encounter.

Her lawyer called the incident a brutal and unprovoked attack, saying that she was leaving the beach when the officer put his hands on her.

“She was always in the process of leaving,” he said. ” She was always walking out of the park.”

Supt. Brown addresses video of officer altercation with woman walking dog

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown addressed the video during a news conference Monday morning.

“What we do know is there was some closure of the beach, apparently, that preceded this interation,” Superintendent Brown said. “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.”

Superintendent Brown said there is also video from the officer’s body camera. The superintendent also asked the public to withold judgement until the Citizen’s Office of Police Accountability can complete its investigation.

Once that’s complete, Superintendent Brown can accept COPA’s recommendation or make a different decision of his own that would be reviewed by the board.

As COPA investigates, Brown can either relieve the officer of his police powers or place him on administrative duties. He expects to decide after receiving another update on the investigation later Monday.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot also acknowledged the situation with a tweet saying she’s deeply concerned by what is depicted on the lakefront beach in that video.

Community activists have expressed outrage over the incident.

“We’re asking and we’re demanding that Lori Lightfoot remove this individual, release the host footage and also his name so we know who we are actually talking about,” said Lamar Woodfield of the No More Foundation.

“If we had no video camera, what would have happened to this woman?” said witness Troy Gaston.

Gaston was walking his dog when he recorded the video.

The Chicago Police Department responded to the video, saying in a tweet that they are aware of the video and are working with COPA on the matter.

COPA said in a separate tweet that they are working with Nikkita Brown’s attorney.

“We absolutely want a full investigation,” Saulter said. “Our challenge is, we want this officer identified so we can formally make a complaint.”

Nikkita Brown’s lawyer said she called 911 when she made it back home, claiming that she told a CPD sergeant the altercation started while the officer was in his squad car.

Nikkita Brown added that other people were walking out on the beach at the same time, but feels she was targeted because of her race.

Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.

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