Activist calls for action against CPD officer accused of striking her during Columbus statue rally

The officer's resignation was not disclosed until Wednesday when COPA released a report on the incident

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Friday, July 15, 2022
Chicago officials, activists condemn CPD response to Columbus statue protest
COPA is investigating the "most egregious complaints" of police misconduct during the protests near the Columbus statue Friday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- We're hearing from the young activist whose front teeth were knocked out during a confrontation with a Chicago police officer at a protest.

The video in the player above is from an earlier report.

She was injured during a protest over Chicago's Columbus statue in Grant Park in July 2020

Although that officer has since resigned, the young woman is calling for action to be taken against the now former officer.

RELATED: Chicago police release video showing confrontation near Grant Park Columbus statue protest

It was a tense situation between Chicago police and protestors nearly two years ago at the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park. Miracle Boyd said she was attempting to document what was happening when then-Chicago Police Officer Nicholas Jovanovich hit her.

"I was recording this man being dragged and he tries to attack me, causing my teeth to fall out," said Boyd, who works with Good Kids Mad City.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability later determined Officer Jovanovich lied about the incident in his official report. The office released its findings earlier this week and determined "both the brutality of his physical action and his attempt to falsely justify his actions in an official department report make him unfit to be a police officer." However, before the department could move to fire the officer, he resigned in back in spring, although the department made it public only this week.

SEE MORE: Chicago Columbus statue protest: Elected officials, activists condemn CPD response to Grant Park Rally; COPA investigates

COPA noted that Jovanovich and his partner blocked Boyd's path as she used her phone to record officers who were clashing with the protesters. Jovanovich extended his left arm and knocked Boyd's phone from her hand, "causing the phone to hit her face and knock out one of her front teeth," COPA said in its report.

The incident was captured on video by a third party across the street and shows Boyd backing up as Jovanovich approaches her. When shown the video by COPA investigators, Jovanovich pointed out that the footage was taken from a distance and captured a different perspective than he had at the time.

Jovanovich told COPA investigators that Boyd was "yelling profanities and flailing her arms." He said that he was in a "hypervigilant state" when he approached Boyd and was fearful of an attack because protesters were lining up behind the officers, according to the report.

Jovanovich denied making any contact with Boyd's face.

COPA also noted that Jovanovich did not attempt to use any de-escalation techniques or give Boyd any "verbal direction" during the encounter. He also admitted that Boyd was not breaking the law by recording officers with her phone.

"Jovanovich has never faced punishment for any of his actions," Boyd said.

COPA also found several of the officer's superiors lied in their reports about the incident.

Attorney Sheila Bedi has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the protestors against the city and the officers.

RELATED: Chicago Christopher Columbus statues in Grant Park, Little Italy removed by city; some aldermen blindsided, others applauding decision

"It's also about the way the code of silence is perpetuated every day in CPD, and COPA's findings really demonstrate that point," Bedi said.

Police Superintendent David Brown had recommended the officer be suspended for a year, rather than be fired. He agreed only with a finding that Jovanovich violated department policy by unnecessarily using excessive force, according to the Sun-Times.

A spokesperson said that since Jovanovich has already resigned, the department has no comment.

The Sun-Times Media Report contributed to this post.