Four teenagers face hate crime, aggravated kidnapping and other felony charges in connection with the torture and beating of a bound and gagged man in Chicago broadcast live on Facebook.
The 18-year-old suspects — identified as Jordan Hill, Tesfaye Cooper, Brittany Covington and Tanishia Covington — were charged Thursday ahead of an afternoon bond hearing.
The charges also include aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi had tweeted Thursday morning that authorities were continuing to investigate the “senseless attack,” potentially as a hate crime after the attackers, who are black, were heard yelling anti-white epithets at various points throughout the 30-minute video.The unidentified 18-year-old victim, described as having mental health challenges, went to school with of one of the attackers and may have willingly gone with the group, authorities said. His family in suburban Chicago first reported him missing late Monday.
Other possible motives for the attack have not been released. At a news conference Wednesday, police said they must determine whether the racial statements were “sincere or just stupid ranting and raving.”
The victim was traumatized by the violence, and eventually spoke with police after he was located wandering on a Chicago street Tuesday night disheveled and in distress. He had to be hospitalized, officials said.
The video, which first aired Tuesday and was also uploaded to YouTube, shows the victim cowering in a corner as the group kicks and slaps him and cuts his hair until his scalp bleeds.
The assailants can also be heard laughing, discussing drug use and yelling “F— Donald Trump!” and “F— white people!
Police are also aware of a second video that showed the teen being forced to drink out of a toilet, according to NBC Chicago. NBC News has not verified that second video.
“It’s sickening,” police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told reporters Wednesday. Police also have no evidence it was a politically motivated attack.
A Facebook spokesperson said Thursday that the original video was taken down because the social network does “not allow people to celebrate or glorify crimes.”
“In many instances, though, when people share this type of content, they are doing so to condemn violence or raise awareness about it,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “In that case, the video would be allowed.”
At around the same time that police found the victim on the street, other officers responded to a report of property damage and a struggle at a nearby address, and apprehended the suspects.
Various groups, including members of Black Lives Matter, have condemned the attack as “barbaric behavior” and called for justice for the victim.