Using Facebook Live four young black people streamed their torture of a white boy. On Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, Chicago authorities charged the suspects with several felony charges including aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and others.
Tanisha and Brittany Covington, Jordan Hill, and Tesfaye Cooper are expected to be in court on Friday, Jan. 6, for their bond hearings regarding this hate crime. NBC News reports all of the suspects are 18 years old. However, other sources indicate Tanisha Covington is 24.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson made a comment about the crime on Wednesday, Jan. 4. He proclaimed the attacks were sickening. He further stated the police have no conclusive evidence that the battery and assault were politically motivated and were not yet ready to call this a hate crime.
However, on one of the two videos on Facebook Live, the suspects were heard swearing, using the F-word, against Donald Trump and white people. Also, heard was the assailants laughing as they yelled, “Kiss the floor b**ch!” The video aired on Tuesday, Jan. 3, also it was uploaded to YouTube. Horrified viewers saw the hate crime happening live.
The unidentified 18-year-old male was seen being kicked and slapped while cowering in a corner. Viewers could also witness the suspects cutting his hair until his scalp bled and flicking cigarette ashes onto the young man. Even after viewing this video, Chicago police would not call this a hate crime on Wednesday.
In the second, but unverified video, the victim was seen being forced to drink out of a toilet. The young man’s family told authorities that he was experiencing some mental health issues.
The victim was reported missing on Monday, Jan. 2. His family told authorities that young man was a schoolmate of one of the perpetrators, and they believe he would have willingly accompanied the group, according to NBC News.
Police officials indicate the victim was found wandering in Chicago on Tuesday night. He was disheveled, in distress, and traumatized. The victim was hospitalized due to the distress and physical injuries from the hate crimes received at the hands of the suspects.
Facebook took down the video, according to a spokesperson for the social media site. In the statement, the representative explained that celebrating or glorifying crimes using their format was unacceptable. Furthermore, an explanation was offered about what is and is not allowed when it comes to sharing crimes; videos are allowed when reporting a crime to condemn it or raise awareness. Sharing a video to boast about a crime, as the hate crime suspects did, is not acceptable.
Rev. Jesse Jackson posted a tweet condemning this act of savagery, stating the acts committed were, “so sick.” This sentiment was echoed by the Chicago Police Department superintendent. Black Lives Matter and other groups called for justice for the victim and denounced the “barbaric behavior.” Yet, none have released a statement agreeing that the assault and batterie is a hate crime.
Written by Cathy Milne
NBC News: Four Teens in Facebook Live Torture Video Charged With Hate Crimes
BBC News: Four charged with hate crime for Chicago Facebook Live attack
Image Courtesy of Michael Kappel’s Flickr Page – Creative Common License