A white Chicago police officer has been placed on desk duty after video surfaced of him grabbing and twisting a Black woman’s arm for more than a minute while she cried for him to stop hurting her before he ultimately released her, USA Today reports.
Nikkita Brown was walking her dog on a beach when she says she was approached by the officer who instructed her to leave because the park had closed. Brown’s attorney, Keenan Saulter, says in a statement that his client was leaving the beach as the officer demanded, when he “brutally attacked” her.
There were other people in the park at the time, but the unidentified officer approached Brown, according to CBS News. She asked that the unmasked officer keep his distance because of the pandemic. In a 22-second cell phone video captured by Brown, she films the officer walking toward her as she requests, "Please, respect my space. It’s COVID. Six feet. You do not have a mask on."
Another video shared with Brown’s attorney was taken by bystanders to the event. The footage shows the officer placing his arms around Brown and seemingly manhandling and tossing her around on the beach while causing Brown’s pet dog to be yanked by its leash. The audio appears to have recorded a pair of men trying to convince the officer to stop his treatment of Brown with one man yelling, ”Hey, chill out! Let her go! Relax!"
According to the Chicago Tribune, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a press conference on Monday, (Aug. 30) that viewing the footage "quite disturbed" her. Lightfoot said, "It looked like the woman was following the direction of the officer and leaving the beach," and it appeared that Brown, "was seemingly just innocently walking her dog and leaving the park."
After the encounter, Brown called 911 from her home. A different police officer took a report while she was still "traumatized from this encounter," according to Saulter. He said, "Ms. Brown is suffering from emotional trauma as a result of this brutal, unprovoked and unlawful attack by this Chicago Police Department Officer.”
Saulter said his client intends to make a "formal complaint" with the city.
Police Superintendent David Brown placed the officer on administrative duties, the department said Monday. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is investigating the incident.
Mayor Lightfoot called on the watchdog agency to "use all deliberate speed to get to a resolution so that we know exactly what happened."