“It makes you wonder what would make individuals treat somebody like that.”
Two men and two women have been charged with hate crimes which were broadcast live on Facebook after shocking footage revealed a group beating and torturing a young white man with special needs, while shouting, “Fuck Donald Trump” and “Fuck white people”.
The 28-minute video, which was initially shared on social media, shows the 18 year-old man, whom authorities have described as having “mental health challenges”, and was reported missing by his parents on Monday, having his mouth forcibly taped shut whilst two of the attackers cut off his sweatshirt with a knife and taunt him before inflicting humiliating punishments on him, including forcing him to drink toilet water.
According to The Washington Post, roughly halfway through the video footage, a voice shouts out that the man “represents Trump,” and threatens to put him in the trunk of a car.
The video, which was taken in suburban Chicago on Saturday, is believed to be authentic, according to the Chicago Police Department, who have since issued a statement describing it as “credible“, going on to confirm that it’s believed the victim was tied up for approximately four to five hours during the ordeal.
Police were allegedly alerted to the whereabouts of the missing 18 year-old when the victim’s parents contacted them after reportedly receiving a slew of texts from someone claiming to hold their son captive, who led them to a Facebook Live video of the assault being carried out in real time.
“He’s traumatized by the incident and it’s very tough to communicate with him at this point,” Chicago police commander Kevin Duffin said in a statement on Wednesday.
“It makes you wonder what would make individuals treat somebody like that,” police superintendent Eddie Johnson added.
The attackers, who are of African American descent, have since been identified by police as 18 year-olds Tesfaye Cooper, Brittany Covington, Jordan Hill and 24 year-old Tanishia Covington.
Due to the racially charged, political aspect of the crime, many of the videos viewers have been quick to label it a Black Lives Matter related protest, hashtagging the horrific incident on social media #BLMkidnapping; but DeRay Mckesson, a prominent Black Lives Matter supporter, says there’s no association with the activist group, tweeting to followers, ‘It goes without saying that the actions being branded by the far-right as the “BLM Kidnapping” have nothing to do w/ the movement.’
It goes without saying that the actions being branded by the far-right as the “BLM Kidnapping” have nothing to do w/ the movement.
— deray mckesson (@deray) January 5, 2017
“This is hate. And hate doesn’t have a color. So for folks to talk about this is somehow connected to Black Lives Matter is absolutely the wrong way to look at this. …And we cannot respond to hate with hate. It’s just going to perpetuate the cycle.”
In addition to hate crimes, the four have been charged with kidnapping, aggravated battery and aggravated unlawful restraint.
Images via twitter.com.