There has been much to learn from official reactions to the abduction and torture of a mentally handicapped white man by four blacks in Chicago.
The facts are clear. On Tuesday, police found an incoherent, bleeding white man wandering the streets. After they took him to the hospital, they learned he had been held for four of five hours by blacks who live-streamed repeated assaults on Facebook. They tied him up, beat him, kicked him, and cut his scalp with a knife. They shouted “Fuck white people,” “Fuck Donald Trump,” and “He represents Trump.” They called him “white boy” and forced him to drink out of a toilet bowl. They made him say “Fuck Donald Trump” and “I love black people.” He screamed and begged for mercy as one of the men threatened to “shank” him. “This shit is hilarious,” said a woman who took part.
The downstairs neighbors threatened to call the police because of all the noise, and two blacks went downstairs and broke into the neighbor’s apartment. The police came, and the white man ran into the street where other officers eventually found him. Thanks to the video, police quickly arrested two men and two women, all 18 years old. Last night, police held a press briefing.
Even though probably all the journalists present had seen the video, the police refused to acknowledge the race of either the perps or the victim. They are so used to ignoring race—so long as it reflects badly on blacks—that they could not bring themselves to say the words “white” or “black” even in a case as racially charged as this.
Journalists still asked if there might be hate-crime charges.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is black. This was his reply:
I think part of it is just stupidity. People ranting about something they think might make a headline. At this point we don’t have anything concrete to point [to regarding a hate crime] but we’ll keep investigating and let the facts guide us on how this concludes. If you looked at the video, it was just stupidity.
Detective Commander Kevin Duffin is white. This was his reply:
You know although they are adults, they’re 18. Kids make stupid dec– I shouldn’t call them kids, they’re legally adults. But they are young adults, and they make stupid decisions. That certainly will be part of whether or not a hate crime—whether we seek a hate crime and determine whether or not this is sincere or just stupid ranting and raving.
Let’s imagine that after Barrack Obama’s election four white men did the same to a dim-witted black. Would anyone say it was “just stupidity”?
This morning, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said that the four black suspects made “terrible racist statements,” but police think they attacked the man because he has “special needs,” not because of race. During the video, the blacks repeatedly called the man “white boy,” and a woman called him “a bitch-ass white thug.” Not once in the half-hour video did they call him a “lame brain” or an “idiot” or a “nut case,” or use language to suggest they were attacking him because of his handicap.
Earlier today, the four 18-year-olds actually were charged with a hate crime (as well as kidnapping, unlawful restraint, burglary, battery with a deadly weapon, etc.), but press reports weren’t clear whether the “hate” was on account of race or disability.
Just a few minutes ago, the same two police officials gave another press briefing, which I watched live on the internet. They went over the facts in the case and explained that the white man knew one of the black men and had gone voluntarily with him. He was tortured only after he met the others. Hate-crime charges have been filed.
There were about 20 minutes of questions from the press, but only one about the charges: Was the “hate” because of disability or race? Commander Kevin Duffin gave a muddy reply that apparently satisfied everyone: “Six of one, half a dozen of the other.” So we still don’t know what kind of “hate” this was.
So far, President Obama, who famously said of Trayvon Martin, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” and who said Michael Brown’s death “stains the heart of black children” has said nothing about a crime that took place in the city he used to call home. His spokesman couldn’t say whether Mr. Obama has even seen the video.
In five days, Mr. Obama will be in Chicago to give his presidential farewell address. What are the chances he will mention this crime from right in his backyard? Zero.
Update, Jan. 6, 2016: Yesterday, a CBS journalist spoke to Mr. Obama about the torture incident and asked if he was not disappointed by the deterioration in race relations. Mr. Obama agreed that the torture was “despicable” but claimed that race relations have not gotten worse; they only seem worse “because we see visuals of racial tensions, violence, and so forth; because of smart phones and the Internet.” He went on to say, “I think the overall trajectory of race relations in this country is actually very positive.”
Also, the Associated Press reports that the four defendants will face hate crimes charges both on account of the victim’s race and mental disability; the man is schizophrenic. The defendants are being held without bail.