The four black Chicago-area young people who kidnapped a disabled white man, then beat him, threatened him with a knife and forced him to drink from a toilet were charged with hate crimes in Thursday. They were also charged with kidnapping, aggravated battery and aggravated unlawful restraint.
The incident was broadcast live on Facebook by one of the perpetrators; the assault lasted two days; the victim was then discovered by Chicago police as he walked “in distress” along a street, according to police authorities.
The perpetrators also yelled “F*** Donald Trump! F*** white people!”
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said police initially believed the victim was chosen because he had “special needs,” not because he was white; Guglielmi acknowledged the suspects made “terrible racist statements.” He also posited that the perpetrators might have been attempting to extort something from the victim’s family.
The Associated Press reports that police have stated that the victim, 18, who was from northwest suburban Crystal Lake, according to ABC7, was a classmate of one of the attackers and went with that person voluntarily. Police Cmdr. Kevin Duffin stated, “He’s traumatized by the incident, and it’s very tough to communicate with him at this point.”
According to WGN TV, Police said the victim’s parents dropped him off at a McDonald’s on New Year’s Eve, but when his parents didn’t hear from him they reported him missing. Police also said the suspects stole a van in the suburbs and drove the victim into the city. The victim’s parents told police they received text messages from people who claimed to be holding him captive
The video from the Facebook Live broadcast show the victim’s mouth taped while two perpetrators cut off his sweatshirt; the victim is wounded on the top of his head; his hands appear to be tied with red bands.
The suspects have been identified as Jordan Hill of suburban Carpentersville, Brittany Covington and Tanishia Covington of Chicago, and Tesfaye Cooper of Chicago. Tanishia Covington is 24; the other suspects are all 18.
Priscilla Covington, the grandmother of at least one of the suspects, said she raised her from infancy. She protested that her granddaughter is “not this person . . . I’m so upset, my head is about to bust open. I don’t know if someone influenced her … She had her ups and down. (She) was a good person. I’m so confused.”