COPA Releases Reports on Two High-Profile Police Encounters, Including North Avenue Beach Incident

The office that investigates serious misconduct against members of the Chicago Police Department released its summary of findings and recommendations on Thursday on two high-profile incidents that have brought the Chicago Police Department under review. audience.

The most recent of these incidents was the North Avenue Beach encounter captured on video that went viral last year. After midnight on August 28, now-retired Chicago police officer Bruce Dyker was on duty at the beach when he approached Nikkita Brown, a black woman walking her dog, telling her the beach was closed. and that she had to go.

Brown asked Dyker to step away from her because he wasn’t wearing a mask and was invading her personal space. Dyker “became increasingly argumentative and verbally combative” with Brown, according to the report. Dyker then grabbed her arm and body and Brown wrestled with him until he freed her and allowed her to leave the park. Dyker did not arrest Brown or issue him citations.

The Civilian Police Accountability Office found that Dyker did not racially profile Brown because, according to body-worn camera footage, Dyker also appeared to give a black couple and four white or Hispanic men the same order to leave the park before his interaction with Brown. .

The report concluded that Dyker’s use of force was neither reasonable nor necessary given that Brown exhibited minimal resistance, “most of which was verbal rather than physical”. He also found that Dyker failed to use de-escalation techniques to prevent the use of force.

“Video footage of this incident has been widely distributed and has brought significant discredit to the department,” the COPA report said. “Officer Dyker’s entire interaction with (Brown) was a miserable failure.”

The watchdog recommended Dyker receive a sanction between 180 days of suspension and separation from the department, according to the report. Although Dyker has retired since the incident. Dyker made his first court appearance earlier this month, when he pleaded not guilty to felony charges, including official misconduct, and was released on his own recognizance.

The second summary report detailed the encounter between police and Mia Wright in May 2020, near the Brickyard Mall, 2600 N. Narragansett Ave. The incident occurred following civil unrest in the city sparked by the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

COPA has discovered that Officer David Laskus provided false information about the red Hyundai Wright was in during the incident. He said the vehicle and its occupants were involved in an attempted looting of the Champs sporting goods store in the mall.

Later, the Hyundai people all said in statements that they were not involved in the looting of the mall, according to the report.

In his statements, Laskus claimed to have seen one of the people in the Hyundai standing in front of Champs, holding a hammer.

COPA found that the people at the Hyundai had never had a hammer, according to the report.

The driver of the Hyundai briefly sped towards a group of officers as they attempted to order everyone out of the vehicle, and when she stopped the car police eventually smashed several windows .

Everyone inside other than Wright got out of the vehicle, and Officer Raymond Duncker grabbed her and passed her to Laskus, who pulled her hair and took her to the ground, the report said. .

Multiple officers picked up a witness who attempted to ground police and handcuffed her while Officer Patrick Dwyer continued to make racist and sexist comments, including “(expletive) animal,” COPA found .

COPA recommended that Laskus be fired from the department. Last week, Police Superintendent David Brown filed disciplinary charges against him with the Chicago Police Board, seeking his dismissal.

COPA also recommended that Dwyer be fired, but he retired on July 15, 2020.

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