Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Charges Filed against 4 in Chicago Hate Crime Case

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Charges Filed against 4 in Chicago Hate Crime Case

Article excerpt

CHICAGO - Four black people were charged with hate crimes Thursday in connection with a video broadcast live on Facebook that showed a mentally disabled white man being beaten and taunted, threatened with a knife and forced to drink from a toilet. The assault went on for up to two days, until Chicago police found the victim "in distress" walking along a street, authorities said.

The suspects, who are in custody, can be heard on the video using profanities against white people and President-elect Donald Trump.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said authorities initially believed the man was singled out because he has "special needs," not because he was white, although Guglielmi acknowledged the suspects made "terrible racist statements."

It's also possible that the suspects were trying to extort something from the victim's family, Guglielmi said.

In addition to hate crimes, the four are charged with kidnapping, aggravated battery and aggravated unlawful restraint. Three were charged with burglary.

The victim was a classmate of one of the attackers and initially went with that person voluntarily, police said.

"He's traumatized by the incident, and it's very tough to communicate with him at this point," police Cmdr. Kevin Duffin said.

Excerpts of the video posted by Chicago media outlets show the victim with his mouth taped shut slumped in a corner as at least two assailants cut off his sweatshirt and others taunt him off camera. The video shows a wound on the top of the man's head, and one person pushes the man's head with his or her foot. A red band also appears to be around the victim's hands.

Off-camera, people can be heard using the profanities. At least one woman is shown in the video.

During the video, the victim does not appear to make any attempt to defend himself or to escape his attackers.

He is a suburban Chicago resident described by Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson as having "mental health challenges. …

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