News & Politics

Chicago Torture Suspects Facing Hate Crime, Aggravated Battery, Kidnapping Charges

News conference, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2017, about the hate crime and other charges filed against four individuals for an attack on a man that was captured on a Facebook video. (James Foster/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Prosecutors have filed hate crime charges as well as aggravated kidnapping and battery charges against the four black suspects who were seen beating and taunting a white mentally disabled man during an attack streamed live on Facebook.

Via News Channel 10:

Cook County prosecutors on Thursday announced charges against three 18-year-olds – Jordan Hill of Carpentersville, Brittany Covington of Chicago and Tesfaye Cooper of Chicago – and 24-year-old Tanishia Covington of Chicago.

Prosecutors say the four are also charged with aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Three have also been charged with residential burglary.

The charges stem from an incident that went on for as many as 48 hours. Police have said the victim has “mental health challenges.”

Police said during a press conference Thursday afternoon that the victim had been “friends” with one of the suspects, 18-year-old Jordan Hill of suburban Chicago.

They say on New Year’s Eve, Hill and the victim met up at a suburban McDonald’s to begin what both the victim and his parents believed was going to be a sleepover.

Police say Hill drove the victim around in a stolen van for a couple days. They ended up at a home in Chicago, where police say Hill and the three other suspects taunted the victim and beat him.

The victim was tied up in a corner for “about four or five hours,” police said.

Detective commander Kevin Duffin laid out a chronology of events that led police to arrest the four black suspects on hate crime and other charges:

They say the victim, an 18-year-old suburban man with mental health problems, knew 18-year-old Jordan Hill, one of the alleged attackers, and willingly spent time with him starting on New Year’s Eve.

The victim’s parents dropped him off at a McDonald’s that night and thought he was spending the night with friends.

Police in Streamwood, Illinois, say the parents reported their son missing Monday, and later the parents received text messages from people who claimed to be holding their son captive.

Chicago police say the victim got into “a play fight,” which escalated and included racial slurs and references to the victim’s mental capacity. The victim was able to escape after a downstairs neighbor threatened to call police and two of the attackers retaliated by kicking in the neighbor’s door.

Hence the residential burglary charge.

In the video, the men could be seen slapping and kicking the victim while yelling, “F*ck Donald Trump n*gger, f*ck white people, boy.” They also slashed at his clothes with a knife and cut off a chunk of his scalp. One of the suspects then flicked cigarette ashes over the wound on his head.

In a separate video, they forced the boy to drink water from a toilet. Brittany Covington, the videographer, and her sister Tanishia could be heard raucously laughing throughout the assault.

According to the Daily Mail, a police spokesman said that the four suspects confessed to the torture in their police interviews and none of them expressed any remorse.

“The actions in that video are reprehensible. That along with racism have absolutely no place in the city of Chicago or anywhere else for that matter, against anyone regardless of their race, gender, state of mental health or any other identifying factor,” said Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

Brittany’s grandmother, however, told reporters on Thursday that her granddaughter “had her ups and downs,” but is “a good person.”

Priscilla Covington of Chicago says she raised the young woman “since she was a baby.” She says her granddaughter no longer lives at the family home but still lives in Chicago.

The grandmother said that the video doesn’t reflect the granddaughter she knows.