'I thought I was going to die': Black woman says CPD officer targeted her because of race

Thursday, September 9, 2021
'I thought I was going to die:' Black woman describes CPD altercation
A Chicago woman's encounter with a police officer at North Avenue Beach captured on video has her speaking out about the experience.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Nikkita Brown, the Black woman whose altercation with a Chicago police officer while walking her dog on North Avenue Beach was caught on video, is speaking exclusively with ABC News about her ordeal.

"I thought I was going to die," she said. "I thought he was going to kill me. I had it in my mind that I was going to be shot."

WATCH: Video shows altercation between CPD officer, Black woman walking dog

Videos provided by the woman's attorney show the altercation between his client and the officer.

COPA is investigating the Aug. 28 incident. It began when the officer ordered her to leave the beach, which was closed.

"I know that as soon as he got out the car, I'm thinking to myself, how can I kind of deter the situation? How can I deescalate the situation?" she recalled.

RELATED: COPA investigating altercation between Chicago police officer, Black woman walking dog

Cell phone video caught some of what the two said to each other. There is a beep as the officer, who is not wearing a mask, turns on his body camera.

"Now understand this," he begins.

"Please don't," Brown interrupts. "Please respect my space. It's COVID. Six feet."

"Respect your space? I'm about to put handcuffs on you," the officer replies.

"You don't have a mask on!" Brown objects.

"I don't need a mask! I'm outside!" the officer retorts.

"I'm clearly walking away," Brown told Good Morning America. "This man is getting out of this car. He's saying that he's going to take me to jail and I'm never going to see my dog again. This is ridiculous."

Video taken by bystanders shows the officer following her on the beach as she says she was headed for an exit. But then she stopped and turned around and things escalated.

"When you see me stop and turn around, it is because this man, big man, taller than me, larger than me, is literally five feet away from me," she I feel him on me," she said.

Brown said she took out her phone because she was, "looking to see who I can call for help at that point. Even if somebody didn't answer me at least leave a voicemail and say hello. Hi, this is where I am, this is what's happening. If you call me in the morning and you don't reach me. I'm in jail, or worse."

She said there were other people on the beach that night but believes she was targeted

"Black woman walking, walking after hours, I guess it looks suspicious," Brown said.

Last week, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown followed COPA's recommendation and placed the officer on administrative duties, pending COPA's inquiry.

"It's, uh, concerning what we saw on the video, but I want to make sure that COPA moves this to the top of the priority list and gets this done," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at the time.

In a statement, COPA Interim Chief Andrea Kersten, said "We have a responsibility to investigate allegations of police misconduct and determine if they are well founded," adding, "If violations did occur, COPA will hold the officer accountable."

Nikkita Brown's attorney Keenan J. Saulter said that placing the officer on desk duty isn't enough.

"This officer should never be placed in a position of trust in the city of Chicago again," Saulter said.

Brown said she's grateful she was able to, in her words, survive the encounter and not become the next hashtag.

"I hope it's not going to be a 'say her name' type of situation, because I'm another person that was shot and killed by a cop and that it's going to written off as I'm this bad person that resisted arrest," Brown said.

It's unclear if COPA has interviewed Nikkita Brown. The agency said it has reviewed the officer's body-worn camera video as part of its investigation.