Four charged with hate crimes over
Chicago beating shown on Facebook
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[January 06, 2017]
By Timothy Mclaughlin
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Four African-Americans
accused of attacking an 18-year-old man with special needs while making
anti-white racial taunts and broadcasting the assault on Facebook were
charged with hate crimes in Illinois on Thursday.
Jordan Hill, Tesfaye Cooper, and sisters Brittany and Tanishia Covington
were each charged with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated
unlawful restraint, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Tanisha
Covington was the eldest at 24, while her sister and the two men were 18
"This should never happen," David Boyd, the victim's brother-in-law,
said at a news conference Thursday. He said the family was overwhelmed
by support expressed on social media.
The incident, part of which was streamed on the service Facebook Live on
Tuesday, drew the attention of U.S. President Barack Obama, who called
it "terrible" in an interview with Chicago's ABC-TV affiliate.
"Part of what technology allows us to see now is the terrible toll that
racism and discrimination and hate takes on families and communities,”
Obama said Thursday.
The victim, who is white, has "mental health challenges," Chicago police
said. He was not identified.
Police said the victim knew at least one of his alleged torturers,
meeting Hill at a McDonald's restaurant in a northwestern suburb of
Chicago late last week.
When he did not return home the next day, the victim's parents reported
him missing. He was found by Chicago police days later, on Tuesday.
Police said Hill picked the victim up at the McDonald's in a stolen van.
While the victim's parents reported him missing, their son and Hill
spent the next two days together, visiting friends and sleeping in the
On Tuesday, a "play fight" between the two in the Covington sisters'
apartment escalated, Chicago Police Commander Kevin Duffin said at the
[to top of second column]
A combination photo shows four people charged with felonies for the
beating of a man with mental health issues, L-R: Brittany Covington,
18, Jordan Hill, 18, Tanishia Covington, 24, and Tesfaye Cooper, 18,
shown in Chicago Police Department photos released in Chicago, Illinois,
U.S. January 5, 2017. Courtesy Chicago Police Department/Handout via
The victim was tied up for four or five hours, gagged and beaten.
His scalp was cut and he was forced to drink toilet water, Duffin
In the video, the attackers could be heard making comments about
"white people" as the victim cowered in a corner, his mouth taped
At least one of the attackers could also be heard saying obscenities
about President-elect Donald Trump. Police said they did not know
whether the victim was a Trump supporter.
Police officers located the victim on Tuesday after neighbors
complained about noise coming from the apartment. He was outside in
freezing weather wearing only a tank top, shorts and sandals, police
He was taken to a hospital and later released. Members of the public
alerted investigators to the Facebook Live video.
The four suspects are due to appear in a Chicago court on Friday.
(Additional reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, Calif.;
Editing by Alan Crosby and Matthew Lewis & Simon Cameron-Moore)
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