Chicago Torture Video: 4 Charged with Hate Crimes, Kidnapping

Holly Yan et al., CNN, January 5, 2017

Four suspects have been charged in connection with the attack on a special-needs teen that was streamed on Facebook Live.

Jordan Hill, 18; Tesfaye Cooper; 18; Brittany Covington, 18; and Tanishia Covington, 24, have each been charged with a hate crime, felony aggravated kidnapping, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

suspects

Hill, Cooper and Brittany Covington also face charges of residential burglary. Hill also faces charges of possession of a stolen motor vehicle.

Video of the torture has stunned the country, not just because of the graphic abuse, but because of the comments made by some of the assailants.

“*F*ck Donald Trump!” one attacker shouted in the video. “F*ck white people!”

The teen was tied up for four or five hours, Cmdr. Kevin Duffin of the Chicago Police Department told reporters.

Duffin said the department sought hate crime charges because of the victim’s diminished mental capacity, the fact that the four suspects tied him up and the racial epithets heard on the video. The victim apparently is white; the suspects are African-American.

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Video of the attack shows the 18-year-old victim cowering in a corner of a room, tied up with his mouth bound in plastic. His eyes exude fear as his attackers get ready for their next act.

One assailant slashes his sweatshirt with a knife. The young woman streaming the abuse on Facebook Live repeatedly turns the camera back to herself.

An attacker then takes a knife to the victim’s head, carving a patch off his scalp.

For the next 25 minutes, the abuse continues for the world to see. The victim is repeatedly kicked and punched, but his screams are apparently ignored.

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Many who saw the video have blamed the Black Lives Matter movement. Within 24 hours, the hashtag #BLMKidnapping was mentioned more than 480,000 times on Twitter.

But on Thursday, police said they have not seen any connection to the Black Lives Matter activist group, contrary to some reports on social media.

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The victim’s parents reported him missing Monday, telling police they had not heard from their son since dropping him off Saturday at a McDonald’s in the Chicago suburb of Streamwood.

The victim knew at least one of his accused attackers from school, Duffin said. Though he may have voluntarily gotten into a van with the group, police are considering kidnapping charges.

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