CHICAGO — An 18-year-old protester who went viral after she said she was struck in the face by a Chicago police officer during a protest at the Christopher Columbus statue downtown Friday spoke out Monday.
Videos taken during the show some of what happened during an encounter between 18-year-old activist Miracle Boyd and a Chicago police officer, who appears to knock the phone from Boyd’s hand in one video.
Backed by the group Good Kids, Mad City, Miracle Boyd said she was struck in the face, and the incident left her with a broken tooth.
“There’s no way I should have left a protest bruised and battered for exercising my freedom of speech,” Boyd said. “I’m disgusted and never thought I’d become a victim to the biggest gang in America.”
A GoFundMe page set up on her behalf collected more than $83,000 before new donations were disabled. The young activist faced some criticism after she said “these white people love a sad sob story” while speaking about the campaign live on social media.
On Monday, she said she plans to give away tens of thousands of the dollars raised in her name to different social justice causes.
“I will use my GoFundMe to donate $10,000 to our Peach Book ordinance, I will use $10,000 to black and brown girls so that they can receive therapeutic services,” she said.
Other posts from the past month appear to show her bragging about vandalism during riots and looting in June.
Attorney Sheila Bedi said what matters isn’t her social media posts of the past, but the incident of the present, calling criticism about Boyd’s online activity organized deflection.
“What this officer did was target Miracle because she was expressing opinion about the police department with lethal force,” Bedi said.
“What is happening right now is that she is being slandered, she is being bullied, it’s very clear that CPD with its coordinated communication campaign is trying to silence her,” Bedi said.
“I will not let the public tear me down and humiliate me,” Boyd said. “I am not a menace, a hood rat, but a dedicated freedom fighter.”
As for the officer involved in the altercation, CPD Superintendent David Brown said its under investigation.
“We started an investigation, it’s being taken seriously. We will do a thorough investigation and we will take the appropriate action against the officer,” Brown said.