Elected officials and activists are condemning the actions of Chicago police officers on Friday night after protesters and officers clashed following a rally near a statue of Christopher Columbus.
The clashes resulted in at least 18 officers being injured and at least a dozen individuals being arrested, according to Chicago police officials.
Four protesters were also hurt during the confrontation, which led local elected officials and activists to condemn the officers’ tactics.
“We unequivocally condemn Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s decision to send the Chicago police to beat, arrest, and terrorize the demonstrators and journalists gathered in Grant Park tonight,” a group of elected officials said in a statement released late Friday.
The local group GoodKids Mad City said that one of the protesters, 18-year-old Miracle Boyd, had several of her front teeth knocked out when an officer punched her.
The group shared video of the incident and a photo of the woman's bloodied mouth and missing teeth.
The group will be joined by Black Rising and other groups for a press conference Saturday to condemn the actions of Chicago police, and to call for disciplinary action against the officer involved.
The police department said in a statement that officers assembled in the park as the protesters converged there and were “providing security and protecting their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble." It said that as demonstrators approached the statue “some members of the crowd turned on the police and used the protest to attack officers with fireworks, rocks, frozen bottles, and other objects."
Amika Tendaji, an organizer for the protest, during which artists tagged the statue with slogans including “Decolonize Chicago” and “Black Lives Matter,” decried the officers’ use of force to protect a statue.
“I think the people of Chicago and the world have proven that they are over police brutalizing people,” she said. “They’re over police murder, they’re over police terrorism, so the people are going to keep fighting.”
The Columbus statue in Grant Park and another in the city's Little Italy neighborhood were also vandalized last month.
Protesters across the county have called for the removal of statues of Columbus, saying that the Italian explorer is responsible for the genocide and exploitation of native peoples in the Americas.