A white Chicago police officer resigned after he was captured on video repeatedly grabbing a Black woman walking her dog in a confrontation her lawyers called “racial profiling,” the department said Friday.
Officer Bruce Dyker quit while the Aug. 28 incident was still under investigation, a department spokesperson said.
The encounter occurred shortly after midnight when Dyker asked Nikkita Brown to leave a beach that was closed, according to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which reviewed the incident and forwarded its findings to the police department in October.
The agency said the officer “forcibly grabbed” Brown after “words were exchanged.”
Body camera video released by Brown’s lawyer shows Brown asking the officer to respect her space as he emerges from his cruiser. “It’s Covid,” she can be heard saying.
It isn’t clear what occurred before the video, but Dyker can be heard responding: “Respect your space? I’m about to put handcuffs on you.”
Brown can be seen backing away from Dyker while repeatedly telling him to “back up” and move away from her.
“Get out of the park,” he can be heard shouting at one point. “What do you not understand about that? The park is closed. You are trespassing on city property, and you will go to jail if you don’t take your dog and leave.”
The video shows Brown pausing and looking at her phone, and the officer appears to grab it before grabbing her arm. Brown can be heard repeatedly screaming and saying, “let go.”
In a witness video released by her lawyer, the officer appears to restrain Brown for nearly a minute before he releases her and she walks away.
A lawyer representing Brown after the incident, Keenan Saulter, said the case was an “obvious case of racial profiling” because white pedestrians were nearby but not approached in the same manner.
“He never had a reason to approach her. He never had a reason to attack her, and never had a reason to arrest her,” Saulter said. “And the best evidence of that is that after he attacked her, he allowed her to walk away.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she was “quite disturbed” by the video and said: “I think this woman deserves to have answers as to what happened, as do members of the public.”
Dyker was placed on administrative leave, Police Superintendent David Brown told reporters in August. It wasn’t clear if the officer was facing disciplinary measures before his resignation.
He couldn’t be reached for comment.
The top official in Chicago’s chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, John Catanzara, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But he told the Associated Press that “Bruce just had enough of the nonsense and scrutiny for doing his job.”
Lawyers for Brown did not immediately respond to requests for comment.