Chicago, IL: Criminal hate crime charges filed against 4 suspects arrested in Facebook Live torture video.
Criminal hate crime charges have been filed against the 4 suspects arrested for allegedly torturing, beating, and gagging a mentally challenged man in Chicago, Illinois and broadcast the torture attack live on Facebook.
** Pictures from the Chicago Police Department: **
The 4 suspects, identified by the Chicago Police Department as 18 year old Jordan Hill; 18 year old Tesfaye Cooper; 18 year old Brittany Covington; and 24 year old Tanishia Covington, were charged on Thursday, January 5th, 2017 ahead of an afternoon bond hearing.
Jordan Hill of Carpentersville, Illinois is charged with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, robbery, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and residential burglary.
Tesfaye Cooper of Chicago, Illinois is charged with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and residential burglary.
Brittany Covington of Chicago, Illinois is charged with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and residential burglary.
Tanishia Covington of Chicago, Illinois is charged with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restrain and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
Investigators claimed the group kidnapped the unidentified 18 year old victim, only described by authorities as having mentally challenged man, keeping him tied up for hours or more with his mouth taped shut in an apartment located on the 3300 block of West Lexington Street in Chicago, Illinois.
The Facebook Live video showed the man cowering in a corner while somebody yelled “F*** white people!” and “F*** Donald Trump!”
As the Facebook Live video continued, the man was held at knife point, told to curse the president-elect, and was kicked and hit repeatedly while his scalp was cut.
The man finally escaped after a neighbors on a lower floor of the apartment building complained about the noise and threatened to call the police.
According to the Chicago Police Department, the victim was located walking along the 3400 block of West Lexington in Chicago, Illinois at about 5:15pm CT on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 disheveled and in distress.
The traumatized victim spoke with police and had to be hospitalized.
At around the time that police found the victim, other law enforcement officers responded to a report of property damage and a struggle at a nearby address, and found the 4 suspects.
According to the Chicago Police Department, a downstairs neighbor made a noise complaint that led to the arrests of the 4 suspects.
** Video from the Chicago Police Department: **
During a news conference on Thursday, January 5th, 2017, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson told reporters, “Let me be very clear: The actions in that video are reprehensible.”
Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the video shows a “brutal act toward an adult male with mental health challenges.”
Chicago Police Department Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said investigators initially concluded that the victim was singled out because he has “special needs,” not because he was white.
But authorities later said the charges resulted from both the suspects’ use of racial slurs and their references to the victim’s disability.
According to the Chicago Police Department, the 4 suspects’ focus on the victims mental capacity as well as his their statements about race is what led to the hate crime charges.
“The actions in that video are reprehensible. That along with racism have absolutely no place in the city of Chicago or anywhere else for that matter against anyone regardless of their race, gender, state of mental health or any other identifying factor,” said Chicago Police Department Supt. Eddie Johnson.
During the news conference, the Chicago Police Department confirmed a second video that showed the man being forced to drink out of a toilet.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he also found the Facebook Live torture video, “sickening.”
“There is more to our city than that and I see it everyday,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
According to the Chicago Police Department, the parents of the unidentified 18 year old victim say they thought he’d be spending the night with friends and that he and Jordan Hill had gone to school together in Aurora, although they didn’t see each other frequently.
The victim’s parents reported him missing on Monday. January 2nd, 2017.
Anger and outrage has flooded over social media regarding the hateful attack and the broadcast of the torture on Facebook Live.
Spokesperson for Facebook say that they have removed the video of the unidentified 18 year old victim kidnapped and being tortured.
In a statement, Facebook said, “We do not allow people to celebrate or glorify crimes on Facebook and have removed the original video for this reason. In many instances, though, when people share this type of content, they are doing so to condemn violence or raise awareness about it. In that case, the video would be allowed.”
Various groups, including members of Black Lives Matter, have condemned the attack as “barbaric behavior” and called for justice for the victim.
Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. tweeted about Facebook Live torture video saying, “This savage act of violence must be condemned. So sick.”
United States of America President Barack Obama spoke about the Facebook Live torture video on Thursday, January 5th, 2017.
Speaking to CBS affiliate WBBM Channel 2, United States of America President Barack Obama said that he doesn’t believe racial tensions have gotten worse, but that the public exposure is more prevalent in the digital age.
“In part because we see visuals of racial tensions, violence and so forth because of smart phones and the Internet. What we have seen as surfacing, I think, are a lot of problems that have been there a long time,” said United States of America President Barack Obama adding, “It doesn’t mean that all racial problems have gone away. It means that we have the capacity to get better.”
Earlier on Thursday, January 5th, 2017, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest spoke about the Facebook Live torture video and called the images in the video “disturbing” and said the attack is still being investigated by local officials.
“They [the images] do demonstrate a level of depravity that is an outrage to a lot of Americans. I haven’t spoken to the president about it but I’m confident he would be angered by the pictures depicted on that video,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
A GoFundMe has been set up for the victim in the Facebook Live torture video.
In a statement posted on the GoFundMe website, “For those of you that have seen the horrific torture and trauma recently inflicted on a young man in Chicago, it is not something you will soon forget. The perpetrators have been apprehended and hopefully swift justice will be served. But let’s take an opportunity now to show this young man and his family some financial support during this difficult time of recovery and let him know there are many out there that are here for him. I’ve coordinated and verified a number of fundraisers through reddit.com/r/upliftingnews and promise that 100% of funds raised will go directly to this young man and/or his family/guardians. Let’s prove to him that there is far more good in this world than the evil he experienced.”
** If you would like to donate, please go to the following GoFundMe website address: **
The GoFundMe account is close to $100,000 which is over the started goal of $10,000.
** Pictures from the Chicago Police Department and NBC News. **