WASHINGTON PARK — Against the backdrop of a fenced-in George Washington statue, the young Black activist allegedly assaulted by a Chicago police officer Friday said she would not be deterred by efforts to humiliate, threaten and defame her.
Miracle Boyd, a member of GoodKids MadCity, was recording the arrest of another activist during Friday’s Grant Park protest when two police offers approached her. She told Block Club she was trying to help the activist by getting his identifying information for attorneys to assist him.
One of the officers then hit her face in what she believes was an attempt to stop her from filming.
GoodKids MadCity tweeted video of the incident, showing an officer swinging at someone with his left hand. The organization identified the person as Boyd, who can be seen stumbling backward and out of frame.
The incident left her with a bloodied mouth and a missing tooth.
The rising DePaul University freshman was joined by rapper Vic Mensa and fellow GoodKids MadCity members at a rally in Washington Park on Monday morning. Group members helped raise $84,000 over the weekend in a GoFundMe campaign to cover Boyd’s medical, dental and mental health care following the assault.
Boyd said she plans to donate most of the funds to help people experiencing homelessness in Chicago, fund mental health treatment for Black girls and donate $10,000 to GoodKids MadCity for their violence prevention work.
While the teen is still shaken by the incident and has received death threats and hate mail, she said she isn’t backing down.
“I will not allow the public to tear me down and humiliate me. I am not a menace, nor a hood rat, or a rebel, but a dedicated freedom fighter,” Boyd said.
Boyd yelled at police officers, but that does not mean they should use “deadly force” on a teenage girl, said her lawyer, Sheila Bedi. Bedi pointed out head strikes are considered use of deadly force under a 2019 federal consent decree aimed at reforming the Police Department.
“She was expressing her opinion and was met with with lethal force,” Bedi said.
A GoodKids MadCity organizer also said Monday the group had no involvement with a group of protesters dressed in black who hurled fireworks and other items at police, pushing back on claims from Police Supt. David Brown.
Boyd acknowledged she was yelling at the officer, but she was also backing away from him.
“No matter what I said … I did not deserve to be attacked,” she said.
Boyd and the GoodKids MadCity leadership want the officer who slapped her to step down, but they are not calling for his arrest. The group believes in restorative justice, she said.
When asked about the attack on Boyd and whether the officer would be punished by Monday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot became defensive but did not address the incident in question.
“We have, for years, an infrastructure built up to make sure that when there is misconduct it is vigorously investigated,” she said. She urged anyone who “believes” they were harmed by police to report it the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.
Lightfoot blamed “vigilantes” for starting the violence at the Columbus statue protest Friday and said reports of police misconduct were being investigated.
“… We can’t have a circumstance where a small subset of that try to take over and hijack the peaceful protest and then turn it into a fight with the police,” she said.
Brown also blamed Friday’s violence on “organized mobs” hijacking peaceful protests.
In his comments, Brown appeared to suggest GoodKids MadCity organizers worked in tandem with those who threw bottles and other objects at officers who had formed a perimeter around the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park.
Bedi dismissed those claims as a “red herring.”
“What we know is that, throughout the uprisings, we’ve seen police brutalizing people with lethal force, with baton strikes to the head,” Bedi said. “Those are the systemic violations we’ve seen since the last weekend in May, so it’s clear that the real agitators are the Chicago Police Department.”
Organizer Taylore Norwood, who was present at Friday’s protest, scoffed at Brown’s claim GoodKids MadCity knew about any planned violence ahead of time. Norwood denied any group members were involved in violent acts against police.
“We had no idea that was happening. People walked right into a red action and were totally unprepared for the violence that occurred,” Norwood said.
The press conference came to an abrupt end after organizers accused reporters of asking questions that appeared to vilify Boyd.
Reporters attempted to question Boyd and the group about a video that has been circulating purportedly showing Boyd bragging about causing property damaging and throwing objects at police officers during protests in May. The video shows her talking to the camera for about 30 seconds.
“Regardless, Miracle should not have been abused. If police officers are being taught to deescalate situations, why didn’t it happen Friday?” Norwood said. “We expect the city and the mayor to value people over property.”
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.