Hundreds of protesters attempting to topple the city’s Christopher Columbus statue faced off with dozens of Chicago police Friday evening in an encounter that turned violent.
Twelve people were arrested and could “potentially face charges,” including battery to an officer, mob action or other felonies, police said, after some protesters began throwing objects at officers, who hit protesters with their batons. About 18 officers were injured, police said. Some were treated on the scene by paramedics while others were transported to the hospital.
Photos and videos of the incident shared to social media showed protesters bleeding from the mouth. At least one protester – 18-year-old Miracle Boyd with GoodKids MadCity, an anti-gun violence group – had her teeth knocked out when an officer punched her, according to video of the assault shared by the organization. Boyd went to the hospital Friday night and was doing better Saturday morning, said Kofi Ademola, a Black Lives Matter organizer and spokesperson for GoodKids MadCity. The protesters gathered in Grant Park on Friday afternoon for a “Black, Indigenous Solidarity Rally” organized by more than a dozen Chicago-based organizations. The event called for “the abolishment of police and the redistribution of funds to the people of Chicago,” according to the Facebook event page.
“We built this country as Black and Indigenous peoples. Our knowledge and labor has been exploited for too long,” the organizers wrote on the event page.
After the rally, some protesters moved south toward the statue, where police had gathered to protect it. Dozens of protesters, many holding black umbrellas, attempted to hurdle the short stone wall encircling the statue, according to dozens of videos shared to social media.