DOWNTOWN — The Chicago police officer who hit an 18-year-old activist during a Downtown protest in 2020 has resigned from the force after an oversight agency recommended that he be fired.
Officer Nicholas Jovanovich resigned from the police department more than two years after the incident in which investigators determined he hit activist Miracle Boyd in her face — knocking out her teeth — as she tried to record an arrest during a protest near the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability announced Wednesday.
The police oversight agency recommended Jovanovich’s termination in June 2021, saying the officer “forcefully struck” Boyd who was not a threat to police, infringed on her right to film police and filed a report that “grossly mischaracterized” the encounter, according to the police accountability agency’s report.
Police Supt. David Brown disagreed with the report’s recommendation, instead calling for Jovanovich to be suspended for a year. When the oversight agency and superintendent disagree on officer discipline, the case goes before the Chicago Police Board, whose members agreed in March with the decision to fire Jovanovich, according to the Sun-Times.
Jovanovich resigned before he could be terminated, officials from the oversight agency said Wednesday.
The incident happened as activists were pushing for the removal of the Columbus statue at Grant Park. Boyd, a youth activist with anti-violence group GoodKids MadCity, was recording officers with her phone when Jovanovich knocked the phone out of her hand, which sent it into her face, according to the oversight agency’s investigation.
Several of Boyd’s teeth were knocked out. She called for the officer to be fired.
Boyd had just finished speaking at the rally when Jovanovich hit her.
During the protest, Boyd noticed a person being arrested and went over to film the encounter and ask the person for their identifying information, according to the oversight agency’s report.
Without saying a word, Jovanovich walked up and “forcefully struck” Boyd, the report states.
After the incident, Jovanovich is alleged to have filed a report that contained “five significant falsehoods” about Boyd’s actions and the threat she posed to officers, according to the report.
Jovanovich in his report described Boyd as swinging her arms as she moved towards police, that she was about to “batter” the arresting officers and that she fled the scene following the incident. Those actions were disproven by video of the incident, according to the oversight agency.
Jovanovich also wrote in his report that Boyd approached police with an “unknown object” despite the officer being heard on video saying to Boyd: “Get that f—— phone out of here.”
In his state to the police oversight agency, Jovanovich said the run-in with Boyd took place minutes after police at the scene of the Columbus statue protest were attacked with rocks, fireworks and other projectiles by some in the crowd.
He said that he saw Boyd approaching with the unknown object and thought she might seek to physically intervene in the arrest of a protester, according to the report.
Three other officers, including a sergeant and lieutenant, have been accused of wrongdoing in the incident.
Officer Andres Valle was accused of failing to report the use of excessive force against Boyd, for which the agency recommended a 60-day suspension.
Sgt. Kevin Gleeson and Lt. Godfrey Cronin were both recommended for firing. They both stand accused of attempting to “minimize” the incident through the approval of misleading reports.
It is unclear what discipline those officers faced. Chicago Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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