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Hate-crime charges filed in attack on mentally disabled man

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    An image from a video that was broadcast live on Facebook and later posted on Vidme shows a frame in which a man, right, is assaulted in Chicago. The video shows the man with his mouth taped shut as a woman and other people cut off his shirt and hair with a knife, and someone pushes his head with his or her foot.

Four black people were charged with hate crimes Thursday in connection with a video broadcast live on Facebook that showed a mentally disabled white man being beaten and taunted, threatened with a knife and forced to drink from a toilet.

The assault went on for up to two days, until Chicago police found the victim “in distress” walking along a street, authorities said.

The suspects, who are in custody, can be heard on the video using profanities against white people and President-elect Donald Trump.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said authorities initially believed the man was singled out because he has “special needs,” not because he was white, although Guglielmi acknowledged the suspects made “terrible racist statements.”

It’s also possible that the suspects were trying to extort something from the victim’s family, Guglielmi said.

In addition to hate crimes, the four are charged with kidnapping, aggravated battery and aggravated unlawful restraint. Three were charged with burglary.

The victim was a classmate of one of the attackers and initially went with that person voluntarily, police said.

“He’s traumatized by the incident, and it’s very tough to communicate with him at this point,” police Cmdr. Kevin Duffin said.

Excerpts of the video posted by Chicago media outlets show the victim with his mouth taped shut slumped in a corner as at least two assailants cut off his sweatshirt and others taunt him off camera. The video shows a wound on the top of the man’s head, and one person pushes the man’s head with his or her foot. A red band also appears to be around the victim’s hands.

Off-camera, people can be heard using the profanities. At least one woman is shown in the video.

During the video, the victim does not appear to make any attempt to defend himself or to escape his attackers.

He is a suburban Chicago resident described by Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson as having “mental health challenges.”

Johnson described the video as “sickening.”

“It makes you wonder what would make individuals treat somebody like that,” he said Wednesday at a news conference.

The grandmother of a young woman associated with the video said the granddaughter she raised from infancy is “not this person.”

“I’m so upset, my head is about to bust open,” said Priscilla Covington of Chicago. “I don’t know if someone influenced her … She had her ups and down. (She) was a good person. I’m so confused.”

The investigation began Monday after officers found a man “in distress” and “in crisis” walking on a street on the West Side, Capt. Steven Sasso said.

The man was taken to a hospital, and it was later discovered that he had been reported missing from an unidentified suburb.

At about the same time, police took several people into custody at a nearby address where they found signs of a struggle and property damage. Investigators determined that the missing man had been at the same address.

Cook County prosecutors identified the suspects as Jordan Hill of suburban Carpentersville, Brittany Covington of Chicago and Tesfaye Cooper of Chicago, all 18. A fourth suspect was identified as 24-year-old Tanishia Covington, also of Chicago.

The video emerged at a time when police dealings with Chicago’s black community are being closely watched. Less than a year ago, the nation’s third-largest police force was sharply criticized by a task force for using excessive force and honoring a code of silence.

The department has also been the subject of a long civil-rights investigation by the Justice Department, which is expected to report its findings soon.

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  • while what the 4 black students did was inexcusable, believe the act was inspired by trumpy’s divisive presidential campaign, spouting racism, bigotry, etc. hence, believe that trumpy’s behavior contributed to the commission of this horrendous act. they should be punished and trumpy be deposed as he only incites racists and bigots.

    • thank you president obama for your legacy of dividing this country along racial lines, inciting racists like black lives matter and the four blacks in this video to commit acts of violence and attacks on police.

    • “trumpy’s divisive presidential campaign, spouting racism, bigotry, etc”

      I can think of no anti-black racist comment from Trump and wonder what you are talking about.

      Trump claimed that some Mexican illegals are rapists and drug dealers, but that seems to be a statement of fact, and is not racist

      A racist treats all members of some racial grouping as being the same instead of as unique individuals.

      A racist beats up some guy just because he is white.

    • I can’t believe people recorded this and uploaded it on social media.

      The fact that the victim willingly went with one of the assailants because he trusted him because they went to school together makes this so awful.

      This is sickening and so sad.

    • If you have seen the news, it has been the Demoncrats who always bring up the race card or the victim card as an excuse for losing their argument in a discussion…so give me a break. By the way, my skin is as brown as the ground we walk on.

    • This bizarre and troubling hate crime will be a boost to trump and the alt-right who was lookign for an incident like this. In truth, black crime against Hawaiians and whites are rare. Violence is mostly intra-racial, not inter-racial.

      And unless Hawaii boast of its lack of hate crimes, please know this as hateful a place as any other state. HPD is too incompetent and too lazy to register hate crimes. Thus, we appear to be free of hate crimes when we are not.

      Last night I witnessed a non-white Pacific Islander blasting every Hawaiian who dared to walk near him in Waikiki. I never heard such hatred. Not a physical crime as he did not strike anyone although he threatned to and threatening is a crime.

  • The Chicago cops are trying to decide if this is a “hate crime.”
    Well, just reverse the races here and see how fast they would conclude that it is.

  • democrats, media and obama are hard at work trying to blame trump for this racist hate crime committed by blacks against a white disabled student.

    however, eric holder identified the problems blacks have 22 years ago: “a lack of values in our nation as a whole and in the black community in particular. soaring unwed birthrates, absentee fathers, an aversion to work, an unwillingness to embrace societal standards and time-honored discipline — all these factors have contributed to the problems we must now confront.”

    then, of course, you have racist hillary clinton who while campaigning for a bill providing for more arrests and harsher prison sentences hatefully said of inner city black youths “they are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators.’ No conscience, no empathy, we can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”

    democrats are like members of the church of scientology who live in a alternate closed informational loop refusing to allow discussions by opposing view holders and instead harass and attack those who offer a different and better delivery of government services.

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