It’s official: the four Chicago African Americans charged with kidnapping and torturing a disabled white teenager will also face hate crime charges.
The incident made national news. In a nutshell, Jordan Hill, Tanishia Covington, Brittany Covington, and Tesfaye Cooper bound and tortured a special needs 18-year old, then broadcasted over thirty minutes of the scene to Facebook Live.
They were all promptly arrested for the incident, but the last lingering question was whether or not their acts qualified as a hate crime. In the video, the four assailants can be heard shouting, “f*ck white people” and “f*ck Donald Trump,” as well as demanding their victim say he loves black people.
The police detective in charge of the investigation was slow to initially categorize the incident as a hate crime, saying shortly after the arrest that, “…they’re young adults, they’re 18. Kids make stupid decisions. I shouldn’t call them kids. They’re legally adults, but they’re young adults and they make stupid decisions.” There was a significant backlash on the internet for the hesitation.
But it took less than a day to officially charge all four with a hate crime. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson clarified the earlier comments, saying, “There was never a question whether or not this incident qualified to be investigated as a hate crime, but… we needed to base the investigation based on facts and not emotion.”
More details about the horrific ordeal have since come to light. The victim was dropped off by his parents at a McDonalds in the suburbs where he was meeting Hill, one of his soon-to-be-tormentors. He thought they were friends.
Hill stole a van and drove the two into the city. He convinced the special needs victim to sleep in the van for two nights, before finally going to the Covington sister's apartment, where the torture took place. Besides being gagged and kicked, someone cut a chunk of the victims scalp out. And again, they broadcasted all of this on Facebook Live.
The victim escaped after the sisters left him alone to confront a neighbor about calling the police. He was picked up wandering alone in the streets, wearing nothing but shorts (in the Chicago winter), and was completely unresponsive for several hours. He was eventually able to name the boy he thought was his friend; police swiftly connected the dots to the video and apprehended all four suspects.