A torture scene captured on video and broadcast on Facebook Live has resulted in grave criminal charges—including a hate crime—for four people in Chicago alleged to have victimized a man in the extreme while denigrating him for being white.
The video shows an unnamed man—an 18-year-old with "special needs," according to CNN—bound, gagged, and cowering as his black assailants repeatedly beat and insult him, cut apart his clothes, and slash his scalp with a razor. In the video, they can be heard shouting "fuck white people," "fuck Donald Trump," and forcing their victim to say, "I love black people," while crawling on his hands and knees.
Now, police say 18-year-olds Jordan Hill, Tesfaye Cooper, and Brittany Covington who posted the video, along with 24-year-old Tanishia Covington, will be prosecuted for kidnapping, unlawful restraint, battery with a deadly weapon, and burglary, in addition to their hate-crime charge.
Wednesday, before the announcement of charges, Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson called the event "sickening" and said, "It makes you wonder what would make individuals treat somebody like that?"
The video circulated online earlier this week, provoking a debate about whether this was a hate crime. Democratic strategist and CNN commentator Symone Sanders argued against the hate-crime charge Wednesday, saying it was more of a political crime. "Hate crimes are because of a person's racial ethnicity, their religion, gender, disability—not political leanings because someone doesn't like your political leanings so they do something bad to you, that is not a hate crime," Sanders told CNN.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest told the press Thursday afternoon that he had not yet spoken to President Obama about the event. But Earnest was confident that he "would be angered by the images that are depicted on that video."
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