Hate crimes continue to happen in this day and age, and with the proliferation of technology, things can go viral pretty quickly. Four teenagers in Chicago were accused of kidnapping and torturing a special needs student, streaming their act via Facebook Live for the whole world to see. As for the quartet’s motive, that remains to be seen, but it looks like all four of them have been slapped with hate crime charges. With Jordan Hill, Tesfaye Cooper, Brittany Covington and Tanishia Covington being 18 years old each, they would be staring at felony charges, at least this is what we garnered from a State’s Attorney news release which was picked up by PEOPLE.
The entire ordeal for the special needs student lasted for 30 minutes at the very least, and it was said to have been captured by one of the female suspects. In the video, the young man was not free to defend himself since he was tied up, and his mouth was covered as well to stop him from calling out for help. Fear obviously overtook the young man, as he remains cowering in the room’s corner. All of his attackers were apparently black, and based on what NPR and the Washington Post reported, they surrounded and derided him with laughter. As if this kind of harassment was not enough, they also shouted, “[Expletive] Donald Trump” and “[Expletive] white people,” before battering him with punches and kicks. To make matters worse, the victim’s forehead was also cut with a knife.
In the recorded video, one of the female suspects apparently took the opportunity to promote her Soundcloud profile. Soundcloud happens to be a popular music sharing website, so perhaps she was just an opportunist with an ax to grind.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the victim himself was also 18 years of age, and he was discovered walking about the streets on late Tuesday afternoon. Police have already urged the masses not to pinpoint this isolated incident as a racial one. Area North Commander Kevin Duffin did mention that the victim is “traumatized” (and rightly so), having been detained for a minimum of 24 hours.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson warned sternly, “If you commit an act of violence in the city of Chicago, you will experience the full weight of the Chicago Police Department. Tonight, four individuals have felt the consequences of their actions.”
It seems that sniffing around further revealed that at least one of the suspects and the victim knew each other, making contact at a school which is located in the suburbs. This could have paved open the way for him to get into the group’s van voluntarily, and while this does not constitute kidnapping, it might just be a charged thrown at the quartet’s direction still.
Tanishia Covington will be facing aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon charges. As for Brittany Covington and Cooper, they too, are looking at similar in addition to residential burglary charges. Hill has the longest list of all, facing all of the above mentioned charges alongside robbery and residential burglary charges. All four of them would appear in court this afternoon.