DOWNTOWN — A 20-year-old Chicago activist blasted the officer who attacked her at a Downtown protest two years ago, saying he escaped repercussions by quitting his job when an oversight agency pushed for him to be fired.
Miracle Boyd, an organizer with GoodKids MadCity, spoke out Friday about the incident that unfolded in July 2020, when she was 18. She was filming police officers arresting someone at a protests near the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park when Officer Nicholas Jovanovich hit her in the face, knocking out her teeth, according to Boyd, a South Side alderperson and The Civilian Office of Police Accountability.
The oversight agency and later the Chicago Police Board ruled Jovanovich should be fired, saying he “forcefully struck” Boyd who was not a threat to police, infringed on her right to film police and filed a report that “grossly mischaracterized” what happened that day, according to the agency’s report.
Jovanovich quit before he could be fired. Boyd said Jovanovich resigned in April but she and others only learned of it this week.
“Today we are gathered because, yet again, CPD served a miscarriage of justice, to myself and the Black and Brown youth across the country,” Boyd said at a press conference Friday at the Thompson Center. “Police officer Nicholas Jovanovich has [managed] to escape accountability after patrolling our neighborhood more than a year after assaulting me.”
There is a pending class-action lawsuit involving the city of Chicago and the officers involved in the 2020 incident, Boyd’s lawyer Sheila Bedi said.
Bedi said Jovanovich lied several times in reporting the incident. The police oversight agency determined the officer’s report had “five significant falsehoods,” including that Boyd swung 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.
“He lied when he described her as an aggressor,” Bedi said. “He lied when he described her size. He lied when he described what happened in the moments before he attacked her.”
Boyd said she is concerned Jovanovich will still be able to work as a police officer elsewhere because he resigned and was not fired. She also said his resignation also means there’s a limited chance for her to get closure from the traumatic incident.
“The cycle of police officers escaping accountability is almost inevitable to me,” Boyd said. “Understand, as a Black youth and a woman, it is unacceptable for survivors of state violence to not receive acknowledgement and healing services to successfully live through these traumas.
“I feel like since then, I haven’t went through any therapy to deal with anxiety that that day brought on myself. Me being a Black, growing woman, youth, still in the city of Chicago, we are not protected.”
Boyd said she’s a prison abolitionist and didn’t want Jovanovich to go to jail, as it wouldn’t ensure he came out a changed person who wouldn’t attack future Black and Brown youth. She said it would have been monumental for Jovanovich to instead enter a restorative justice circle, an ongoing process where the two of could have worked towards accountability together.
“Still, I am wishing for a restorative justice process with this officer,” she said. “I would still like circles with him, continuously learning about him, him learning about me and what actually took place.”
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.
Separately, Boyd and fellow GoodKids Mad City organizers are behind the Peace Book ordinance, a youth-led violence reduction strategy the group introduced to City council along with Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) last month after circulating for years.
Boyd called on local leaders to endorse the plan, and fund it through a portion of the existing police budget, plus local and state government dollars.
“Passing the ‘Peace Book’ means acknowledging the harm that is in our communities and holding each other accountable for our actions that are good or bad,” Boyd said. “We must not resort to the criminal legal system for discipline. Far too many times, it has proved that Black and Brown youth are not protected and that punitive systems aren’t rewarding, not transformative.”
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