Woman who was grabbed, detained by cop while walking dog at North Avenue Beach files federal lawsuit

The suit alleges excessive force at the hands of an officer who’s since resigned and been criminally charged.

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Nikkita Brown with her dog, Blanco.

Nikkita Brown, with her dog. Blanco, has sued a former Chicago police officer for using excessive force against her at North Avenue Beach.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times file

Nikkita Brown, the woman who was grabbed and forcibly detained by a Chicago cop at North Avenue Beach last year, filed a federal lawsuit Thursday claiming excessive force.

Brown, 33, has repeatedly called for justice and accountability.

Bruce Dyker, the officer who grabbed her, resigned from the department last month before any disciplinary charges could be handed down. And he was charged last week in Cook County with felony aggravated battery and official misconduct in connection with the incident. 

Dyker’s initial court appearance in criminal court was scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

“In my mind the greatest threat that I thought of that night was that I could potentially be robbed,” Brown told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Brown’s attorney, Michael Gallagher, said the lawsuit “details the horrendous misconduct Officer Dyker has committed over the past 20 years on the force. The complaint is intended to not only hold him accountable, but the city of Chicago. The same City that has refused to hold officers like him accountable. That stops now.”

Dyker’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Brown was walking her French bulldog along the lakefront when she encountered Dyker, who told her the beach was closed and she needed to leave.

The incident was captured on multiple video recording devices, including Dyker’s bodycam, a nearby surveillance camera and a bystander’s cellphone.

Brown told Dyker that she was on her way to the exit immediately south of their location when Dyker became agitated and said “Exit the beach now! ... Why don’t you people listen and do what you’re told?”

According to the suit, Brown backed away in compliance with Dyker’s order and attempted to film the incident with her cellphone because she felt increasingly threatened.

“Please respect my space, it’s COVID, you don’t have a mask on!” she told Dyker.

“Respect your space? I’m about to put handcuffs on you. I don’t need a mask,” Dyker responded.

She pleaded with him: “Move away from me, I feel threatened,” to which Dyker responded “Good.”

According to the suit, Brown had complied with Dyker’s order and walked 150 feet away from the beach when she panicked and stopped in order to call for help.

Dyker then grabbed Brown and repeatedly attempted to throw her down on the pavement. Over the next 70 seconds, Brown repeatedly screamed for Dyker to “let me go,” according to the suit.

Brown previously told the Sun-Times she believes the incident was racially motivated.

“But I don’t think every officer out there is bad. There’s always a bad apple,” Brown said.

Dyker, who became a Chicago cop in 1998, had at least 24 complaints against him, including three that were sustained, the lawsuit said.

The most serious disciplinary measure he faced stemmed from a November 2008 off-duty domestic incident in New Tazewell, Tennessee. Dyker was suspended for 20 days after he allegedly verbally abused and pointed his weapon at a victim and failed to follow lawful police orders. 

“The city and CPD’s failure to adequately investigate and discipline Officer Dyker’s brazen misconduct over the past 20 years confirmed that he could act with impunity. Officer Dyker’s sense of impunity ultimately resulted in his belief that he could attack a defenseless young African American woman who posed no threat and was complying with his orders,” the lawsuit stated.

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