Four black teens were charged today with the commission of hate crime. A widely distributed video that had been livestreamed on Facebook by one of the suspects showed that they tortured and slashed a teenaged white man who they had bound and gagged on Chicago's West Side. The young white man has been described as having special needs. Police discovered him wandering and disoriented on January 2 after his parents had reported him missing. He was tortured and kept tied up for as long as 48 hours.
The suspects charged today are: Jordan Hill, 18, of Carpentersville; Tesfaye Cooper, 18, of Chicago; Brittany Covington, 18, of Chicago; and Tanishia Covington, 24, of Chicago. Each has been charged with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and residential burglary. Hill was also charged with robbery and possession of a stolen motor vehicle.
The suspects can be seen on the video taunting the victim. He was to drink water taken from a toilet water, and he was repeatedly beaten, kicked, and slashed with a knife.
"Bro look. (Screaming). Get to the corner, put your hands against the wall, bro," one of the attackers said. Off camera, one voice can be heard shouting "F--- white people!" and "F--- Donald Trump!"
The victim, who is from northwest suburban Crystal Lake, was reported missing from nearby Streamwood by his parents on January 2. His parents had not had contact with him since New Year's Eve after they dropped him off at a McDonald's restaurant in a Chicago suburb. Soon, the victim's parents began to receive text messages from persons who claimed to have abducted him.
Chicago police said that the victim knew one of the suspects before the incident and encountered that suspect on January 2. He was driven into the city in a vehicle that had been stolen by one of the suspects. "He is an acquaintance of one of these subjects. They stole a van and brought him to Chicago," Area North Chicago Police Commander Kevin Duffin said on January 4.
Chicago police found the victim wandering traumatized and in distress on West Lexington Street in the Homan Square neighborhood of Chicago's west side.
Then investigators determined that between the time he'd been reported missing and when he was seen wandering, the victim was held between 24 and 48 hours by the group.
Police said they don't know the motive behind the apparent torture or the suspects' decision to film it. But they investigated the attack as a hate crime. At one point, the teens, who are black, told the victim, who is white, to say he loves black people.
Police authorities of both Chicago and Streamwood are investigating. The suspects will appear in a Chicago Bond Court on January 6.
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