Police have charged four black Chicago residents with a hate crime, aggravated battery and long list of other things for their alleged roles in torturing a mentally challenged white man and broadcasting the heinous events over Facebook Live, according to local media.
The four African-American suspects—Jordan Hill, 18; Tesfaye Cooper, 18; Brittany Herring, 18; and Tanishia Covington, 24—were captured after police discovered the shocking tape, which appears to show them forcing a disabled white man to drink from a toilet and cut his own scalp, while they screamed obscenities, and kicked and punched him.
The four, who reportedly know the victim, are accused of sealing a van and driving the victim from the Chicago suburbs into an apartment in the city, where they allegedly held him for between 24 and 48 hours. He was found wandering the streets of city’s West Side on Tuesday, clearly traumatized.
Chicago police initially said that the incident was being investigated as a racially motivated hate crime. But Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson later clarified that cops believe the suspects, all adults, targeted the man because of his disability.
The list of charges is immense. Hill, Cooper, Herring and Covington will all face allegations of aggravated kidnapping, hate crimes, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, robbery and residential burglary. Hill faces additional charges for stealing the car.
It isn’t clear what police believe motivated the hate crime charges, though in Chicago, both race and mental disability are protected classes. In the video, the four attackers are heard ranting about “white people,” Donald Trump, the victim’s skin color, and Black Lives Matter. On several occasions they force the victim to denounce the President elect.
But so far, there don’t appear to be any official connections between any of the suspects and the Black Lives Matter movement—though at least one of the suspects, Brittany Herring, has made incendiary statements on social media. Herring, who filmed the attack, has an arrest record. Tanishia Covington, Herring’s sister and a single mother, appears to have loose ties to notorious Chicago gang members, as well as a history of criminal trespass.
As for whether the troupe targeted the victim for his skin color, it appears the victim knew at least one of his attackers from school.