A Chicago police officer with a history of violent interactions with the public is facing renewed calls for his firing in light of newly released video imagery showing him punching a social justice activist and knocking out one of her front teeth in 2020.
Miracle Boyd says she was using her mobile phone to record video of police officers arresting Black Lives Matter protestors in the city's Grant Park when Officer Nicholas Jovanovich, a 17-year veteran of the force, suddenly rushed toward her. Police reports and body-cam images obtained by the Chicago Reader and South Side Weekly - although highly redacted - show Jovanovich rushing toward Boyd and punching her in the face with a balled-up fist as she attempts to back away from him.
As the Reader reports, "When the blow lands, her cell phone flies to the pavement and she stumbles away, bent double." She was reportedly bleeding heavily from her mouth. Boyd, who was 18 at the time of the protest and assault, is an activist with the anti-gun-violence organization Good Kids Mad City.
Last May, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability’s (COPA) concluded its investigation of the incident and recommended that Jovanovich be fired for excessive force and other violations. But Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown objected, suggesting instead that he be suspended from the police force for a year.
In addition to finding that he used excessive force on Boyd, COPA determined that Jovanovich “seized [Boyd’s] phone without justification” and failed to inventory it. COPA also found Jovanovich made “false, misleading, inaccurate, and/or incomplete statements” in the tactical-response report (TRR) he submitted about the incident. CPD officers must file a TRR whenever they use force against a civilian.
Last week, the Reader obtained 22 TRRs Jovanovich filed over the course of his career, including the one about the 2020 incident. According to the Invisible Institute’s Citizens Police Data Project, that’s more use-of-force reports than 96 percent of Chicago cops.