Miracle Boyd, the teenage activist struck in the mouth by a police officer last Friday, said at a press conference Monday morning in Washington Park that she wanted the officer to be removed from the police force and engage in a restorative justice process with her.
Boyd, 18 and an activist with GoodKidsMadCity (GKMC), was hit in the mouth by a police officer during a protest on Friday at the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park, according to video posted on social media. She says that the blow caused damage to her teeth; a photo also shows her with bloodied lips. A fundraiser for Boyd raised more than $80,000 over the weekend.
At Friday’s action, police arrested a dozen people and used pepper spray on protesters. A video shows some demonstrators throwing projectiles at the police.
Ahead of Boyd’s press conference Monday morning at 51st Street and King Drive, construction workers arrived early in the morning to put up protective fencing around the statue of George Washington that served as a backdrop. (The statue was spray painted in June with slogans that included “Slave Owner” and “Burn Down the White House.”)
Boyd said she doesn't want to press charges against the officer. Rather, she wants the officer who hit her to be removed from the police force, and called for him to take part in a “peace circle” — a restorative justice practice that involves a victim, offender, and representatives from some larger community engaging in a conversation about acknowledging and repairing harm that has been inflicted on someone.
“This will show the power of restorative justice and how we can make our communities safe,” she said. “No matter what I said, no matter what I did, it did not justify being brutalized or attacked.”
A lawyer for Boyd, Sheila Bedi, condemned posts that had been circulating on social media criticizing Boyd’s behavior toward police officers during the protest as verbally abusive.
“Miracle had a First Amendment right to express herself,” said Bedi. “What the video shows is Miracle ...expressing her opinion of a Chicago police officer. The (assault) is direct retaliation to her expression.”
State Sen. Robert Peters posted the photo of Boyd’s injuries to his Twitter account. “She is fighting gun violence everyday. Last week I offered her an internship,” he wrote. “She is just over 5 ft, 100 pounds. Tonight a police officer beat her. Knocked out her teeth. I’m sad, angry, and disgusted.”
Peters was at the press conference Monday, as were Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20th) and State Rep. Kambium Buckner.
Boyd said that she will donate $10,000 from her fundraiser to GKMC’s efforts to pass a “Peacebook” ordinance aimed at the root causes of gun violence, and another $10,000 to help Black and brown girls.