The president of the Chicago Police Board — the mayorally appointed body that metes out discipline for Chicago Police officers — said Friday that he was struck by an officer during last weekend’s protests in Kenwood.
“I, indeed, was one of several individuals physically hit and struck by Chicago police on Sunday as they clashed with protestors,” Board president Ghian Foreman said in a statement issued Friday afternoon. “I was not participating in the protest, but coincidentally encountered the demonstration at a moment when it became confrontational.”
In the statement, Foreman declined to provide specifics on what happened, but a source with knowledge of the incident said Foreman was struck in the legs with a baton about five times.
Foreman said he didn’t want the incident to distract from police reform efforts and said it is “more important to focus on how it could have been avoided and how aggressive police confrontations can be avoided moving forward.”
He noted the irony of the situation considering his position: “This is the duality I live with as a Black man in America, even one who is privileged to be part of systems of power. I am not exempt from what any other Black man faces on the streets.”
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability has opened an investigation.
“As with every investigation, it will be thorough, it will be integrity-based, it will be unbiased,” said COPA spokesman Ephraim Eaddy.
The incident involving Foreman happened just hours after he praised Chicago Police officers for their professionalism.
“I would not have had the same restraint that many of your officers showed last night,” Foreman said last Sunday.
Later, in an interview with Fox-32 News, he explained how a heated situation unfolded that led to him being struck with a police club.
“The situation was commotion,” he told Fox. “I don’t necessarily blame that police officer. I don’t necessarily blame the community. I was trying to keep the police cool, I was trying to keep the community cool. I didn’t see a point in throwing bottles at police. So I’m trying to calm the community down. You know I saw of some of the young protesters getting in the middle and I didn’t want them to be hurt.”
He added: “I understand what the community is saying, and at the same time I understand the police. This is a hard situation. This is a situation Chicago needs to understand.”
In the last week, COPA has received 344 complaints of alleged police misconduct, Eaddy said.