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Editorial: A lakefront encounter between a Black woman and police seems minor. Data suggests otherwise.

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Last weekend, a Black woman walking her dog at the North Avenue Beach had a troubling encounter with a Chicago police officer.

The incident took place after midnight when the lakefront area is officially closed, prohibiting dog walking, and it was filmed both by the woman, who was not arrested, and bystanders. Those brief videos, released to the news media by an attorney representing Nikkita Brown, appear to show the officer and Brown getting into a physical altercation that, at one point, involved the officer making a grab for her cellphone.

The attorney, Keenan Saulter, claimed racial profiling on the grounds that there were also white people in the area whom the officer did not approach. The videos do not provide a lot of context, and history teaches us footage can be used selectively or otherwise not reveal the whole truth. But the incident was enough to spark an investigation by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot chose her words carefully, saying she was “quite disturbed” by what she saw, and Chicago police Superintendent David Brown said that the officer involved had been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

Some Chicagoans will see this as a clear case of racial profiling. Others will say the woman was not supposed to be there, which is true, and the officer was doing his job during a tough summer in a city on edge. Some will say it is too hard to tell from videos released by an attorney with........

© Chicago Tribune

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