Story at a glance
- The Chicago Police Board President Ghian Foreman recounted being accosted by police when walking into a protest.
- Foreman told Chicago PBS station WTTW that he was struck five times on his legs by officers.
- Foreman filed a complaint with Chicago's Citizens Office of Police Accountability.
The president of the Chicago Police Board, Ghian Foreman, said Friday that he was struck with batons by police officers as they clashed with protesters on the South Side of the city. Like many other cities, they were protesting police brutality in light of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died during an arrest on May 25.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Foreman was not participating in the demonstrations, but encountered it on a walk when it became confrontational. He said during a Police Board press conference that he was hit about five times in his legs with batons.
“It was chaos. It was a no-win situation on both sides,” Foreman said of the clash.
Foreman told the press that he shared his experience to reinforce his position on police accountability as well as the fact “that it seems ironic that someone in a public-facing position could also become a victim of police aggression.”
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“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,” he explained. “I am not exempt from what any other black man faces on the streets.”
Foreman has served on the Police Board since 2010 and has been president since 2018. He confirmed that the situation is being investigated by Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability, and emphasized that aggressive confrontations like his should be avoided.
“There is important work to be done,” Foreman said. “If we are to improve police officer training, better educate them on de-escalation techniques and develop a peer support program in the next 90 days as we have been asked to do, we cannot afford to lose focus now.”
The Tribune reports that 344 complaints have been made against Chicago police officers from May 29 to June 5.
Foreman’s account comes as Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for “monumental reforms” surrounding the city’s police force on NBC Five, which, so far, will not include defunding the city police department.
"I don't think that is really what's underlying this," she said in regards to national calls for cities to defund their police departments. "What I’m hearing in my city and what I’m watching across the country is this desire and demand for resources. And we have an obligation to answer that demand, and that's precisely what we're doing in Chicago and will continue to be doing that."
READ MORE ABOUT THE GEORGE FLOYD PROTESTS