CHICAGO - Chicago's police oversight agency on Monday recommended Supt. David Brown either relieve an officer of his police powers or place him on administrative duties after he was seen on viral video grabbing a woman walking her dog, and the police department announced that he was placed on desk duty.
"We are committed to a fair, timely and objective investigation to determine if the actions of the involved officer are in accordance with Department Policy and Training," said Civilian Office of Police Accountability Interim Chief Andrea Kersten. "We have a responsibility to investigate allegations of police misconduct and determine if they are well founded based on the facts and evidence of each case. If violations did occur, COPA will hold the officer accountable."
COPA says investigators canvassed the scene of the incident and found several additional surveillance cameras that may have captured what happened early Saturday morning.
Lawyers for Nikkita Brown said she was walking her dog in Lincoln Park near the lakefront when the attack occurred. The lawyers did note that the park was already closed.
"Things are still preliminary. What we do know was there was some closure of the beach that preceded this interaction," Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown had said Monday morning. "We have not interviewed this officer yet. COPA will be in charge of this interview."
Brown asked for patience.
"I know it's frustrating for the public, once you've seen a viral video," he said. "Hopefully I'll get a little more facts today."
Video shows the officer walking up to Brown, and getting close to her in spite of her requests that he stay away because of COVID. He tells her that since he is outside, he does not need to wear a mask.
Video from bystanders shows the CPD officer grabbing her and struggling with her as Brown's dog jumps frantically and tries to help her. The officer grabs at her body as the struggle continues for about two minutes.
"It's shocking to me that after he's attacking her, she picks up her phone and she puts her shoes back on, this attack knocked her out of her shoes, and she's allowed to walk away, because he knew she had done nothing wrong," said Keenan Saulter, Brown's attorney.
Attorneys for Brown said that other people, who were white, were also in the park but were not confronted. Attorneys called it an "obvious case of racial profiling" that resulted in "emotional trauma" because of the "brutal, unprovoked and unlawful attack."
"This is an issue about that officer, that officer's temperament, and that as an officer, they should not be policing the streets in Chicago," said Saulter.
In a tweet Sunday, the Chicago Police Department said: "CPD is aware of a video circulating on social media regarding an incident involving a Chicago Police officer and a woman walking her dog at North Avenue Beach. CPD promptly referred the matter to @ChicagoCOPA when we became aware of the incident."
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she was "deeply concerned" by the video Monday.