4 Teens in Police Custody After Posting Torture of Special-Needs Man on Facebook [UPDATED]
UPDATE 4:45 p.m. ET: Police have decided charge the four attackers with hate crimes, in addition to multiple others including aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
The four suspects' names are: Jordan Hill, 18; Tesfaye Cooper, 18; Brittany Covington, 18; and Tanishia Covington, 24.
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A group of three 18-year-olds and one 24-year-old allegedly held a man with special needs captive for at least 24 hours, filming with a phone as they punched and kicked him, even cutting his scalp with a knife. The victim is now free, though he was severely traumatized by the incident. Chicago police have detained the four suspects, two men and two women, and are preparing charges against them.
One of the teens broadcast the attack on Facebook Live, where she and her friends can be heard taunting the man and insulting Donald Trump and "white people." After seeing the disturbing video, police have indicated they may pursue hate-crimes charges, though a spokesman for police said they believed the victim was chosen because of his special needs rather than his race. (The four suspects are black; the victim is white.)
“They’re young adults, and they make stupid decisions,” Officer Kevin Duffin told reporters. “That certainly will be part of whether or not we seek a hate-crime [charge] to determine whether this is sincere or just stupid ranting and raving.”
Police say they think that the victim may have known one of the attackers from school. Allegedly, they picked the man up in a suburb outside Chicago, then drove into the city in a stolen van. The attackers bound and gagged him, keeping him locked in a house for at least 24 hours while they tortured him, then they released him. He was found wandering the streets in a traumatized state.
"It's sickening," said Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. "It makes you wonder what would make individuals treat somebody like that. I've been a cop for 28 years and I've seen things that you shouldn't see. It still amazes me how you still see things that you just shouldn't."