GRANT PARK — An 18-year-old activist who had just spoken to a crowd protesting at the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park had several front teeth knocked out by a Chicago Police officer Friday evening, according to video and multiple elected officials.
An outraged Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th) said Miracle Boyd, 18, of the group GoodKids MadCity was assaulted by a police officer during the tense Friday night protest where police pepper-sprayed protesters trying to tear down a towering, nearly 90-year-old statue of Columbus.
Taylor, who knows Boyd, said the rising young activist was injured by police. Boyd was filming the encounter, in which she argued with officers away from the Columbus statue. At the end of her recording, her phone appears to be knocked away. A second video, posted to Twitter from someone filming across the street, shows an officer wearing shorts and a bike helmet swinging his left hand at her. She flees after he swings.
Ald. Taylor said watching video of the attack horrified her. Taylor’s daughter is good friends with Boyd.
“I’m going to tell you right now, if this was my kid — and Miracle is one of mine — I would burn this city to the ground,” Taylor said. “You beat people up over a statue? You rough them up over a statue?
“They’re so busy protecting white supremacy, they’re so busy protecting a Christopher Columbus statue that they beat her.”
On Sunday, Boyd told Block Club she had been trying to assist a protester she saw being arrested when two officers approached her, one with dark gray facial hair and sunglasses.
“He walked up to me and smacked me,” Boyd said Sunday. “I don’t know if the phone hit me in the mouth, I don’t know if his hand hit me in the mouth.
“But the way that I was recording, I think that he tried to smack the phone in my hand and he hit me at the same time, and the phone hit me in the mouth, and it knocked my tooth out and I was bleeding.”
GoodKids MadCity tweeted in the aftermath, showing Boyd suffered multiple injuries to her face and chipped teeth. They later tweeted the video footage they said showed a police officer beating Boyd in the face.
Essence Gatheright, a 16-year-old member of Chicago Freedom School‘s youth leadership board who was at the protest, said Boyd spoke at the rally earlier that night.
Gatheright helped get Boyd get medical attention at the Freedom School after she was hit.
“Her teeth came out, it was really bad,” Gatheright said. “She was bleeding, she kept crying and sobbing. It was a really messed up situation. … We were able to walk her and others to the school and provide her with support and make sure she got home safely.”
Ald. Taylor said Boyd is “a good kid, a CPS graduate” who has helped raise money for the most vulnerable in her community.
“I don’t care if you become the president, the mayor, the garbage man — you are not exempt from this country and what its racist ass will do to you,” Taylor said.
Through tears, Taylor said she was tired. “How many more times are we going to go through this?”
State Sen. Robert Peters posted the photo of Boyd’s injuries, saying he had just offered her an internship last week because she is “fighting gun violence everyday.”
“She is just over 5 ft, 100 pounds. Tonight a police officer beat her. Knocked out her teeth,” Peters tweeted. “I’m sad, angry, and disgusted.”
Kofi Ademola, an organizer with Black Lives Matter Chicago, also tweeted about the case Friday, saying “Don’t let the Mayor or city Council sleep until we get the justice we demand!”
Boyd is a recent graduate of Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy in Ashburn.
Last weekend, she helped lead a protest through Washington Park and Woodlawn in memory of friends lost to violence. She said more policing is not the answer and demanded that Mayor Lori Lightfoot divest from the Chicago Police Department and direct the money to communities instead.
“We’re the people of the community. I don’t see you [Mayor Lightfoot] out here organizing people,” Boyd said. “… We are the ones in our community that have to deal with the trauma.”
Friday evening’s protest ended in in clashes between police and demonstrators, some of whom attempted to pull down the statute of Christopher Columbus in the southern edge of the park. Police eventually converged on the area, using pepper spray to push back protesters. Video tweeted from reporters and demonstrators shows multiple physical confrontation.
In a statement, the Chicago Police News Affairs office said it was not aware of the Boyd incident.
“The Chicago Police Department strives to treat all individuals our officers encounter with respect,” according to the statement. “We do not tolerate misconduct of any kind and if any wrongdoing is discovered, officers will be held accountable. Anyone who feels they have been mistreated by a CPD officer is encouraged to call 311 and file a complaint with COPA, who will investigate allegations of misconduct.”
During the protest last week in Washington Park, Boyd and other activists detailed proposals about reducing violence in their communities, calling on the city to reallocate 2 percent of the Chicago police budget to services like robust mental health, schools and grocery stores.
That money would help support violence interrupters and other residents doing ground-level work to keep communities safe through direct action with gang members. Peace treaties, accountability, trauma-healing and a restorative justice process are all part of the plan, Boyd said.
You can donate to help Boyd with needed medical care here.
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