CHICAGO (CBS) — There was new fallout Saturday afternoon over violent protests in Grant Park the evening before, as demonstrators tried to take down the statue of Christopher Columbus in the park.
As CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reported, that unrest has drawn scrutiny from city leaders and the American Civil Liberties Union. There were also allegations that at least one protester was assaulted by police.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Stray Sprinkles On Friday
The Columbus statue was fenced off Saturday with officers standing by. Meanwhile, friends described the 18-year-old woman who was hit by an officer nearby on Friday as physically and emotionally recovering from what happened.
Miracle Boyd, 18, said she had at least one tooth knocked out by a Chicago Police officer during the unrest on Friday. Some friends believe the officer was trying to punch away her phone and instead hit her in the mouth.
Video shows Boyd getting punched in the mouth by a Chicago Police officer – hard enough to lose at least one tooth while shooting video on her phone.
Ross: “Was his intent To knock her teeth out?”
Damayante Wallace: “It was probably to knock the phone out of her hand.”
Wallace, a fellow activist, described what happened moments before Boyd was hit.
“Seeing her record someone who was getting arrested. I was seeing her trying to hold the officers accountable,” Wallace said.
Ross: “Did she verbally or physically in any way, shape, or form threaten this officer?”
Wallace said Boyd was “traumatized.”
Ross: “Will this affect how your group protests going forward? Will this affect how Miracle protests going forward?”
Wallace: ”It may. In our minds, this is a part of the fight. This is as part of what’s happening. This is a part of what’s going on.”
Hundreds were at the Friday evening protest rallying to defund the police, and some attempted to tear down the Columbus statue.
Chicago Police said some members of the crowd turned on officers, using the protest to attack them with fireworks, rocks, frozen bottles, and other objects.
CBS 2 Investigator Brad Edwards reported police brass told him “mortar round explosives, and sharpened PVC pipe fashioned into spears” were thrown at officers and recovered at Columbus statue Friday evening. Also, one police sergeant may have been blinded, Edwards reported.
UPDATE: CPD brass tells me “mortar round explosives, and sharpened PVC pipe fashioned into spears” were thrown at officers and recovered at Columbus statue Friday PM. Also, one CPD Sargeant have been blinded. @cbschicago
— Brad Edwards (@tvbrad) July 18, 2020
New video surfaced Saturday from the unrest. The images show a barrage of objects Chicago Police faced during clashes with protesters.
Video from an anonymous source showed show of what police previously described as rocks, frozen bottles, fireworks, and other objects hurled at them.
The images showed a more coordinated effort than previously thought, Demonstrators were seen packing together in formation with umbrellas outstretched, moving as a group toward officers.
About a dozen people were arrested, and approximately 18 officers were injured.
Police Supt. David Brown issued several tweets, saying in part: “We deeply respect an individual’s right to peacefully protest and we will do everything we can to protect that right. But, we will not stand by, and in fact we are obligated to act, while City or private property is being damaged or while violent acts are being committed.”
We deeply respect an individual's right to peacefully protest and we will do everything we can to protect that right. But, we will not stand by, and in fact we are obligated to act, while City or private property is being damaged or while violent acts are being committed.
— Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown (@ChiefDavidBrown) July 18, 2020READ MORE: Young Boy Shot And Seriously Wounded In Bronzeville High-Rise Apartment
Approximately 18 officers were injured as a result and 12 individuals were arrested for charges including mob action, battery to a police officer and criminal damage to property.
— Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown (@ChiefDavidBrown) July 18, 2020
We do not want to engage in violent clashes with protesters, but when the law is being broken, our oath demands that we act to uphold the law. The rule of law has always been, and remains today the essence of policing and the foundation of our democracy.
— Chicago Police Superintendent David O. Brown (@ChiefDavidBrown) July 18, 2020
Meanwhile, the ACLU of Illinois issued a statement condemning the conduct of police and advising that the Columbus statue be taken down:
“Images showing that Chicago Police officers responded with excessive violence and chemical agents to protesters who gathered in Grant Park last evening demands public accountability and transparency. Batons, physical force, and chemical sprays were used indiscriminately – against everyone, including those who wished to express their opposition to a statue at that location, legal observers, and journalists reporting from the scene. This type of violence is the very reason that thousands in Chicago – and millions across the country – have taken to the streets to protest police violence against Black people.
“The Mayor, CPD leaders and other City officials should provide a full, public accounting about why this level of violence – including the use of chemical agents – was used. And every complaint of excessive force should be fully investigated and officers who abused protestors, legal observers, and journalists should be held to account.
“This sort of violence cannot be repeated. More protests will occur this summer – some likely this weekend. The police department must order officers to use restraint and follow rules on use of force. And the City should announce today that it will not use chemicals on crowds going forward.
“It is most disturbing that police thought violence against protestors, legal observers, and journalists was a measured reaction to protect a statue. As with their response to the protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, CPD appears to value property and statues above First Amendment protected activity, including expression of dissent and journalism on issues of public importance.
“We have a suggestion to make this easier – take the statue in question down. The City could take that action today rather than responding to protests concerning the statue with harsh and violent measures.”
A recovering Boyd echoed the ACLU’s thoughts about police conduct.
“I feel like it should not have ever happened. If you wanted me to put my phone away, I was not going to put it away, I was not going to put it away, so, I have the right to assembly. I have the right to press. You can’t deny me my rights, so that was that,” Boyd said, “and I was not being a disruption.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot released the following statement Saturday afternoon:
Hundreds took to the streets yesterday to express their First Amendment right to protest. I unequivocally support and will always fight for the rights of individuals to peacefully protest on any issue. The history and stories of the lives of Indigenous People here in Chicago need to be lifted up and celebrated. There is a dialogue that must be had to honestly confront the deeply ingrained history of racism and discrimination that has subjected Black, Indigenous and other communities of color in our city and our nation for too long.
For several weeks, my team has been working to develop a plan to pursue that public conversation, and to engage in a comprehensive review of our public icons to identify which should change, and where we need new monuments and icons to be erected to ensure the full, robust history of our city is told. The details of that plan are forthcoming, but please know that we hear and take seriously these questions.
Unfortunately, last night, a portion of the protesters turned violent. A number of individuals came with frozen water bottles, rocks, bottles, cans and other gear to throw at officers. People in the crowd also threw fireworks and other incendiary devices at police, causing injury in several cases. These violent acts are unacceptable and put everyone at risk.
There have also been several reports of excessive force by the police. These are also unacceptable. I have spoken to the director of the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, and she has assured me that COPA stands ready to address these complaints and will ensure that each of these is dealt with and investigated. We will not spare any resources to do so. If you believe you have been mistreated by the police, then I urge you to file a complaint through COPA or by dialing 311.
This is a difficult moment in our history. I know Chicagoans are frustrated and impatient for change. It is my sincere hope that we can strike the right balance to ensure people can rightfully express themselves and their First Amendment rights, but to do so in a way that does not put anyone’s physical safety at risk. That would be consistent with the long history of peaceful protest in our city.
The history and stories of the lives of Indigenous People here in Chicago need to be lifted up and celebrated.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) July 18, 2020
Also Saturday, Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara Jr. issued a letter to President Donald Trump, asking for help from the federal government to fight “chaos” in Chicago and calling Mayor Lightfoot a “complete failure.”
The letter was posted on the FOP Lodge 7 Facebook page on Saturday, with a note that it would “get to President Trump’s desk one way or another.”
In the letter, Catanzara wrote: “I am certain you are aware of the chaos currently affecting our city on a regular basis now. I am writing to formally ask you for help from the federal government. Mayor Lightfoot has proved to be a complete failure who is either unwilling or unable to maintain law and order here.”MORE NEWS: Family Of Girl Who Died At Age 11 Finds Her Headstone Overturned And Damaged At Cemetery In Hillside
In response to the letter, Mayor Lightfoot’s office said: “We will not dignify this or any other political stunt. We will, however, continue to support the true, hard working men and women of the police department.”