A Black woman said she was walking out of a closed park in Chicago, adhering to police instructions, when a white police officer attempted to tackle her, allegedly unprovoked according to ABC News.
On Aug. 28, Nikkita Brown says the officer drove up to her as she was walking her dog in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago.
Brown agreed, however, the officer insisted on driving behind her as she walked out of the park, and eventually got out of his vehicle to follow her on foot, she told ABC News.
Brown said she consistently told him, “I am leaving” and “I am walking away,” as she actively walked toward the exit.
The officer got out of his car and told her, “You can go to jail,” according to a video Brown took who recorded part of the encounter. Brown says he allegedly told her she would never see her dog again. Brown says she took her cell phone out to record the incident and call for help.
“Even if somebody didn’t answer,” she said, she wanted to “at least leave a voicemail and say, ‘if you call me in the morning and you don’t reach me, I’m in jail, or worse.’”
Video shows the officer continued to approach Brown, ignoring her request to stay 6 feet away. In a video clip, the officer can be heard saying, “I don’t need a mask on, I’m outside,” shortly before attempting to tackle Brown, appearing to restrain her by kicking her legs and knocking her phone out of her hands.
After a 2-minute physical encounter which Brown remained on her feet and screamed for help, Brown and the officer separated and both left the scene without the officer making an arrest.
“I knew if he got me on the floor, I would be dead,” Brown told ABC News. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), the group inquiring into the incident, the investigation is ongoing.
COPA isn’t apart of the Chicago Police Department, according to its website. COPA is an independent agency within the City of Chicago responsible for the intake of all complaints regarding allegations of misconduct by CPD members. COPA is staffed by civilian investigators and headed by a civilian Chief Administrator.
A Chicago Police Department spokesperson told ABC News that “the officer in question has been placed on desk duty as the COPA investigates the video.” Brown says there were others in the area that night, and believed she was profiled because of her race.
“I walked past four kids that were behind me… white males. As soon as I saw the car pull up, I looked behind me to see if he said anything to the kids. He didn’t,” Brown said.
The officer has yet to be identified due to privacy reasons, a COPA spokesperson said. Brown’s attorney, Keenan Saulter, has requested the identity of the officer be released in order to file a formal complaint against him.
“There were other individuals in the park that night. So we still have to come back around to the question of ‘why her?’” Saulter said. “The worst scenario would have been that he writes her a ticket for being in the park after 11:00 p.m.”
Brown now says she feels anxious leaving the house.
“If anything, I should feel even more protected by a police presence as a single woman walking at night, not be fearful that I’m going to die at the hands of an officer,” Brown said.
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