A Chicago woman who claims her race led a white cop to grab her as she walked her dog on a closed beach thought she was going to die during the caught-on-camera confrontation.
Nikkita Brown told ABC News Thursday she immediately thought the worst when the Chicago police officer approached her after midnight on Aug. 28 as she walked her dog on North Avenue Beach along Lake Michigan.
“I thought I was going to die,” Brown said in her first public comments while flanked by her attorney. “I thought he was going to kill me. I had it in my mind that I was going to be shot.”
Cell phone video showed the white officer – who was put on paid desk duty after the footage surfaced – apparently telling the black woman to get off the beach after it closed at 11 p.m.
Brown started to walk off, but turned around at one point, prompting the cop to try to tackle her as her dog hopped at the officer’s feet, the clip shows.
“When you see me stop and turn around, it’s because this man – big man, taller than me, larger than me – is literally five feet away from me,” Brown continued. “I feel him on me.”
Brown said she then took out her cell phone in hopes of calling someone for help.
“Even if somebody didn’t answer, at least leave a voice message saying, ‘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,” Brown said.
The officer then grabbed for Brown’s phone, further escalating the confrontation, video shows. She later called 911 while claiming she was racially profiled by the unmasked officer.
Brown, who was not arrested, told ABC News other people were also at the beach at the time, but the officer chose to focus on her.
“Black woman walking after-hours, I guess I look suspicious,” Brown said when asked why she believed she was stopped.
Brown said she believes she “would be dead” if the officer managed to get her onto the ground, and that she gets anxious now anytime she leaves her home.
“If anything, I should feel even more protected by a police presence as a single woman walking at night, not be fearful that I’m going to die at the hands of an officer,” Brown said.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown placed the officer, who has yet to be publicly identified, on administrative duty days after the incident. The closure of the beach hours earlier led to the interaction, Brown said. Dogs are also not allowed there, according to the beach’s website.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, which probes allegations of misconduct by city cops, has recommended the officer be relieved of police power or put on administrative duty as the investigation continues.
A message seeking comment from a COPA spokesman was not immediately returned Thursday.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said she was “deeply concerned” by the encounter. Brown’s attorney, meanwhile, wants the officer’s identity to be released so a formal complaint can be filed.
“There were other individuals in the park that night,” attorney Keenan Saulter told ABC News. “So, we still have to come back around to the question of why her? The worst scenario would have been that he writes her a ticket for being in the park after 11 p.m.”