In Chicago, four black youths were arrested after one of them live-streamed a video that allegedly depicted the torture and abduction of a young white man who police describe as having “mental health challenges.” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said that the "sickening" video was posted on social media and recorded the "brutal act" committed by the two black men and two black women.
It was on January 3 on Chicago’s West Side that officers discovered the victim. The said that he appeared to be “in distress” and that he “didn’t seem right,” according to Police Capt. Steven Sesso at a press conference. The officers took him to a hospital for treatment. The suspects allegedly assaulted the victim and broadcasted it "for the entire world to see," said Supt. Johnson. All four suspects are 18 years of age.
The video recorded that the assailants shouted “F--- white people!” and “F--- Donald Trump!” The cowering victim, who was bound and gagged, was shown cornered in a room where the assailants slashed his head with a knife and cut off his sweatshirt. At least one was smoking a cigarette, the ashes of which were flicked on the victim’s wounds.
Regarding the disturbing video that surfaced on social media of a battery: Incident is under investigation/suspects are being questioned pic.twitter.com/GGi3qs9rGv
Not far from the address where the distressed white man was found, police took the four suspects into custody in connection to another incident. They were responding, according to a police statement, when police responded to a report of a battery at a residence. There they found evidence of a struggle, as well as damage to the property. They were then able to link the evidence to the young white male. They then determined that the four persons under arrest were responsible for the "injury and maltreatment" of the disoriented victim, Capt. Sesso said.
Later on, law enforcement officials became aware of the perpetrators’ video that had been loaded to Facebook that depicted the the torture and confinement of the an adult male. They concluded that the video depicted the very same distressed male they discovered earlier. Facebook took down the video because the website does not allow the celebration or glorification of crime on Facebook.
The victim had been listed as missing or endangered. He came from a nearby suburb and is believed to have been acquainted with one of the suspects. Police believe that he went voluntarily with the assailants when they stole a van in the suburbs and drove it to Chicago. He may have been held captive between 24 to 48 hours.
According to police, the victim lived in the Chicago suburb of Crystal Lake and was acquainted with one of the suspects through school. Police said the victim appeared to have voluntarily met up with the suspect he knew at some point and later rode with others in a stolen van to Chicago’s West Side. He was with the suspects for at least 24 hours and maybe as long as 48 hours, police said.
Police in nearby Streamwood, a Chicago suburb, said that the young white man’s parents dropped him off at a McDonald’s in the area on December 31. They reported him missing on January 2. Soon afterwards, they began receiving text messages from persons claiming to be holding him captive. After he was let go by the assailants, the victim was wandering and dressed in shorts on the West Side when found by police in the Homan Square neighborhood. A police spokesman said that he was traumatized. According to reports, he has had difficulty describing the incident to investigators.
Police are determining whether the four assailants will be charged with hate crimes or kidnapping.
“We’re still investigating it and if the facts guide us to that, then we’ll certainly charge them appropriately,” Chicago Police Department Commander Kevin Duffin said during a press conference.
When asked by a reporter whether the suspects statements about white people and Donald Trump may justify hate-crime charges, Chicago Police Department Commander Kevin Duffin said, “Kids make stupid decisions — I shouldn’t call them kids, they’re legally adults. But they’re young adults and they make stupid decisions.”