A Black woman who claims she was racially profiled when she was grabbed by a Chicago police officer during an altercation at North Avenue Beach earlier this year publicly called for his firing during Thursday’s meeting of the Chicago Police Board.
Nikkita Brown pleaded with those in attendance, including members of the police oversight panel and Supt. David Brown, to take swift action in discharging the officer who she claimed “viciously attacked” her late on Aug. 28 near the lakefront.
“This is something that has stayed with me,” she said. “This is something that has shaken me. This is something where I am fearful of walking outside my house.”
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability announced in late October that its findings and recommendations in the disciplinary case had been sent to Supt. Brown, whose 60-day deadline to respond is nearing. That timeline, however, could be extended another month.
COPA’s report and recommendations haven’t been made public, and it’s unclear whether the Police Board will be involved in the process. That would happen only if COPA and Supt. Brown disagree on discipline, or if the superintendent files charges to dismiss the officer.
A longtime Lincoln Park resident, Nikkita Brown was walking her dog by the lakefront when she began recording the interaction in a now-viral cellphone video.
The officer’s body-worn camera footage shows her holding her phone as he approaches, and the conversation quickly escalates to shouting after she asks the officer to “respect my space.” The officer then threatens to handcuff her for “trespassing” at the closed beach as she tells him to “back up” while moving away from him.
Eventually, the officer grabs at her phone, wrist and arm. She and the officer can then be seen struggling before she drops her phone and the officer’s camera appears to fall off. After roughly two minutes, the officer releases her and she asks him for his badge number as she walks away.
Nikkita Brown specifically referenced allegations about the officer’s background that have emerged in news reports by multiple media sources. The Sun-Times isn’t naming the officer because he isn’t officially accused of wrongdoing in the incident.
“Allowing [the officer] to remain on the force despite his history of misconduct and his videotaped attack on me will not only be an insult to the residents of the city, but it would be an insult to all men and women that actually perform their duties with professionalism and integrity,” she said.
“Is this somebody that you’re proud to call your brother, your colleague?” she later asked those in attendance.
Ghian Foreman, the president of the Police Board, then credited her “courage” but didn’t give others a chance to chime in.
“Normally I would ask the superintendent to respond, but since it’s open I’m gonna hold off on doing that right now.”