The suspects who allegedly tortured a man suffering from mental health challenges in a horrific video shot in Chicago have been charged with a hate crimes after making anti-white comments and forcing the victim to make anti-Trump comments.
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All four Illinois suspects — identified by officials as Jordan Hill of Carpentersville, Tesfaye Cooper of Chicago, Brittany Covington of Chicago, all 18, and Tanishia Covington, 24, of Chicago — were also charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Additionally, Hill, Cooper and Brittany Covington were charged with residential burglary, and Hill was charged with possession of a stolen motor vehicle, according to the prosecutor's office.
The 30-minute video of the assault, which has sparked outrage and President Obama called "horrible," shows a white man with his mouth taped shut as his captors allegedly torture him. Police say he was tied up for four to five hours.
Someone is heard yelling, "F--- white people." The racial comments in the video are the primary reason the suspects were charged with hate crimes, Chicago Police Department Cmdr. Kevin Duffin said.
In a press conference Thursday, David Boyd, the victim’s brother-in-law, said he was doing "as well as he could be at this time." The family members are aware of the charges filed against the suspects today, they said.
When asked by a reporter if he had seen the video, Boyd said, "Everyone's seen the video."
He thanked the community as well as the police departments in Chicago and Streamwood, where the victim had been seen last, for their support.
"We're overwhelmed and surprised," he said. "We're happy that everyone's concerned. This should never happen."
The suspects, scheduled to appear in court Friday afternoon, posted a video on Facebook that allegedly shows them assaulting the man. The video was later removed by the social media company, which said it does "not allow people to celebrate or glorify crimes on Facebook."
The victim was found outdoors in the frigid temperatures Tuesday, confused and wearing sandals, shorts and an inside-out tank top, Chicago police officer Michael Donnelly said on Thursday. He described the victim as "bloody" and "battered."
Around the same time, the suspects were taken into custody for another incident near the address where the victim was found, police said, and they were able to link "signs of a struggle and damage to the property and were able to link this evidence to the disoriented male."
At one point, the victim was threatened with a knife and was told to curse President-elect Donald Trump.
"Say, 'F--- Donald Trump,'" someone is heard saying.
"F--- Donald Trump," the victim says.
Detectives later determined that the victim was listed as a missing endangered person from a nearby suburb, Duffin said.
According to a press release issued by the Streamwood Police Department, the victim's parents reported his disappearance late Monday night, telling police they had not heard from their son since Saturday, when they dropped him off at a McDonald's restaurant.
As officers were investigating, the victim's parents "began receiving text messages from persons claiming to be holding him captive," the Streamwood Police Department stated in the press release. Soon after that, Streamwood police discovered the video on Facebook, and they were told by the Chicago Police Department that the victim had been located.
Police believe the victim is an acquaintance of one of the suspects, who have given video statements, according to Duffin.
Obama said, "Part of what technology allows us to see now is the terrible toll that racism and discrimination and hate takes on families and communities, but that's part of how we learn and how we get better."