A Chicago police officer was caught on tape punching an 18-year-old woman in the face, causing her to lose several teeth, during a protest organized by Black and Indigenous youth on Friday night.
The woman, Miracle Boyd, is a member of the Chicago social activist group GoodKids MadCity, which tweeted a video of the incident.
Boyd told BuzzFeed News that she had finished delivering a speech to a group of protesters in Grant Park and was leaving to go home and eat when she heard the loud bangs of fireworks being set off. She headed in the direction of the sound and started recording a livestream on Facebook.
Boyd said her mouth hurt "tremendously" after being attacked.
"I felt that my tooth was gone and I felt like I was going fucking crazy," she said, especially because she was already conscious that she had a gap between her two front teeth. "This happened in like five minutes - from me saying I'm leaving to me getting my teeth knocked out."
Boyd said some of the comments on her video accuse her of "being the aggressor" because she was shouting at police, but she said that has "never once swung at a police officer [or] threw anything at a police officer."
All she did was shout at them as she recorded, she said, and even then it was an officer she wasn't addressing who assaulted her.
A photo of Boyd that GoodKids MadCity tweeted showed her crying with a bleeding mouth, and some of her teeth missing and broken.
Boyd said she has been involved in activism for the past three years, from protesting gun violence to advocating for more funding for schools in Black and brown neighborhoods in Chicago.
She graduated from high school last month, and had been offered an internship with state Sen. Robert Peters' office just last week, Peters said in a tweet.
"I'm sad, angry, and disgusted," he wrote.
The photo of her after the attack has been widely shared online, and many expressed outrage over what happened.
A verified GoFundMe to support the cost of Boyd's medical expenses has raised more than $80,000 so far. Boyd said she's grateful for the help, but she doesn't want the focus to be on her.
"I don't want this to be about me because this is a fight we're all fighting and I'm not doing this alone," she said. "There is seriously things wrong within the Black and brown community that needs to change and I'm going to do everything in power to make sure my people are good."
Witnesses reported that protesters, some of whom were trying to take down the Christopher Columbus statue, were pepper-sprayed and beaten with wooden batons by police. At least a dozen people were arrested, according to NBC Chicago.
Video also showed protesters being pushed off bikes and thrown to the ground by police.
Chicago police told BuzzFeed News that they have opened an investigation into the incident involving Boyd.
"The Chicago Police Department (CPD) strives to treat all individuals our officers encounter with respect," they said. "We do not tolerate misconduct of any kind and if any wrongdoing is discovered, officers will be held accountable."
The officer has not been publicly identified. The department told CNN that 18 officers were injured after being attacked with rocks and fireworks.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Saturday that she had spoken to the director of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability to address complaints from protesters, and acknowledged "several reports of excessive force by the police" on Friday night.
Lightfoot's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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