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COPA investigating after viral video appears to show uniformed police officer grabbing, physically restraining woman on North Avenue Beach


The Civilian Office of Police Accountability Monday was investigating a viral video that appears to show a uniformed Chicago police officer grabbing and physically restraining a woman who appeared to be complying with orders to leave North Avenue Beach this weekend.

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In the video, which has been viewed nearly 200,000 times, a woman is seen holding a dog’s leash a few feet away from an unidentified police officer. He begins walking toward her and she begins walking backward, away from him. The verbal exchange isn’t caught on the cellphone video but the woman can be heard screaming repeatedly, in apparent distress.

It appears the officer is indicating the beach is closed and he keeps walking at her for about 20 seconds, while she and the dog continue to retreat away from him. He starts moving his arms in a shooing motion as they walk, until she eventually stops, cellphone in hand.

A few seconds later, he appears to try to grab the phone from her. When she pulls it away, he begins trying to physically restrain her by grabbing her arms; both spin in circles until he has her arms held behind her back and holds her there for about a minute. She is eventually let free and both of them walk away in opposite directions.

Chicago police responded to the video, which had been circulating widely on social media, in its own post on Twitter Sunday. It said the department was aware of the video “regarding an incident involving a Chicago police officer and a woman walking her dog at North Avenue Beach.”

It says the department “promptly referred” it to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, or COPA.

In response, COPA also said it was aware of the video “regarding a CPD officer (and) woman with her dog on a Chicago beach.”

“We are investigating and in communication with the woman’s attorney,” the post on Twitter said.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot also used social media to condemn the interaction, saying: “I am deeply concerned by what is depicted on the lakefront beach in that video.”

Police Superintendent David Brown is expected to address reporters at a news conference at 9 a.m. Monday.

A lawyer for the woman in the video could not immediately be reached.

Check back for updates.

kdouglas@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @312BreakingNews

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