Incoming DePaul student assaulted by police speaks out against violence



Miracle Boyd, 18, an activist with GoodKids MadCity, hugs a supporter as she speaks during a press conference in front of a statue of President George Washington near East 51st Street and South King Drive, describing a recent violent encounter she had with Chicago Police, Monday morning, July 20, 2020. Boyd was participating in a Friday evening protest against a statue of Christopher Columbus in Grant Park, when she alleges she had several teeth knocked out by a Chicago Police officer. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

The protest for Black and Indigenous Youth was winding down when fireworks went off and screams billowed from the crowd. Miracle Boyd, a 17-year-old activist with Good Kids Mad City, immediately began streaming on her Facebook as she saw a man being arrested by Chicago Police on July 17.

Boyd, an incoming freshman at DePaul, was on a mission to get the man’s contact information to connect him with legal help when two police officers approached her. One of the officers punched her in the face, knocking out at least one of her teeth.

“So, he punched me and I’m just right there holding my mouth and I looked on the ground for my phone. He took it and just, you know, walked away,” Boyd said.

Boyd said that she doesn’t like how the protests have been distorted and perceived as non-peaceful.

“I just hate that the message got complacent and people just started saying what they want to say, and say that the protest was not peaceful and that anybody who was hurt got what they deserved because police were being attacked,” Boyd said. “I think that is definitely unfair because I did not come to attack police and anything like that, I came to have a good time and protest and go back home.”

Since the protest, Boyd has received both support and harassment on social media. She said after the first few hate messages she received, she decided to stop looking at them. If she didn’t look at them, she said, they were imaginary.

“I want to say that they don’t like me because I speak the truth, and like, because of what I was saying on video, they want to use the language that I was using against me,” Boyd said. “But at the same time, me expressing my hate was the only powerful tool I had at the time.”

In support of Boyd, DePaul’s Black Student Union released a statement on Instagram on Saturday, July 18.

“Miracle, we are so sorry for what you’ve had to endure,” the statement read. “We are sorry that the unjust forces that rule this city have personally hurt you. We vow to protect you, and every Black student not only at DePaul but in our community here. We are here to listen to you, and to work with you so that this may not occur again.”

The statement also requests that DePaul cut its ties with the Chicago Police Department. The organization criticizes DePaul’s response to these requests and asks that Provost Salma Ghanem deliver a proper response.

“We are not going to allow for most of us to struggle financially, emotionally, and even academically, as officers from CPD are allowed to get almost their entire tuition refunded,” the statement continued.

Keith Norward, president of DePaul’s Black Student Union, spoke about the organization’s call for DePaul to separate itself from Chicago police.

“We’re telling them that we’re not feeling safe and then still continuing that after we see what happens to Miracle Boyd,” Norward said.

DePaul stands by its June 9 statement that expresses support for the Black Lives Matter movement and that education programs provide the opportunity for change.  The university also stands by the statement made by Provost Salma Ghanem on June 22.

When asked about President Donald Trump’s intent to send federal agents to Chicago, Boyd denounced the action.

“I don’t know what he thought bringing feds and more police and then having police on their bikes… that does not do anything,” Boyd said. “You can’t combat gun violence with gun violence.”

Boyd is not pressing charges against the officer who assaulted her but has decided to sue the city of Chicago. Instead, she is asking to participate in a peace circle with him so that he can repair the harm that he has caused.

“Restorative justice is a very impactful decision and restorative justice actually helps people make amends with the people who’ve been hurt,” Boyd said.

A GoFundMe created to support Boyd after the incident has raised over $83,000. Boyd has decided to donate $50,000 to charity.

She is still developing her donation list but plans to donate to Black and Brown businesses, therapy services for Black and Brown girls, Good Kids Mad City Peacebook Campaign, and to her peers’ education pathway for college.