August 9, 2020

Chicago police board president says he was hit with batons by officers at protest

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CHICAGO — Protestors have filed hundreds of complaints against Chicago police for use of force, and one of those was filed by the president of the Chicago police board who alleges at least one officer attacked him during a Sunday protest.

Ghian Foreman did not want to talk about specifics of what happened, but said the focus should be on solutions.

Every night on Foreman’s block, neighbors come out to celebrate each other from a distance. It’s the type of community building he says the city needs.

“Nobody on this block came out to ask what happened to me, but everyone came out to ask, ‘What can I do to help this situation?’” Foreman said.

Foreman has been Chicago police board president since 2018. After a day filled with protests over the police killing of George Floyd ended with property damage and looting, on Sunday he gave an emotional plea saying people are “tired of this.”

Hours later, Foreman says an officer hit him with a baton on his legs during a demonstration. He was not participating in the protest in Hyde Park – but walked up right when it was becoming confrontational.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability is now investigating.

“I told him he had to file a complaint and he has. There’s no reason that should have happened. He’s hurting physically, he’s hurting emotionally. Unacceptable,” Lightfoot said.

The irony that someone in charge of holding officers accountable could also become a victim of police aggression is not lost on Foreman. He says he’s not exempt from what any other black man faces on the streets but moving forward he calls this a great training opportunity.

“But it’s also communication,” he said. “We have to learn how to talk to each other. I saw the looks of the eyes in the people on the streets and officers. I think this is a great time to talk about reconciliation.”

A spokesperson for COPA says as of this afternoon, they have received 384 complaints about officers since Friday. Most of them were related to protests. Officials are promising to conduct thorough and unbiased investigations in each case.