Obama DOJ absent after shocking assault in Chicago, highlights hate-crime double standard.
Chicago police on Thursday asserted what seemed obvious to most observers: The assault and torture of a white special-needs teenager by four black assailants this week was a hate crime.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who initially had come under fire for seeming reluctant to classify the crime, said during a news conference that there never was a question that the alleged assault qualified as a possible hate crime. But he said a “methodical investigation” based on facts and not emotion was needed.
“Let me be very clear. The actions in that video are reprehensible.”
That probe resulted in Thursday’s announcement that hate crime charges have been filed against all four suspects.
“Let me be very clear. The actions in that video are reprehensible,” he said. “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 identify factor.”
Police said Jordan Hill, 18; Tesfaye Cooper 18; Brittany Covington, 18; and Tanishia Covington, 24, also have been charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated unlawful restraint, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Cooper and the Covington sisters also face burglary charges, while Hill has been charged with robbery.
A Facebook Live video showing the victim bound and beaten shocked the country. According to authorities, the assailants cut the victim’s scalp and forced him to drink toilet water and say, “F*** white people” and “F*** Trump.”
Kevin Duffin, the area detective commander, told reporters that race and the victim’s diminished mental capacity both were factors in the decision to ask the Cook County state’s attorney to file hate crime charges.
“We sought hate crimes charges, and they agreed,” he said.
Duffin provided a timeline of the crime. The victim’s parents had dropped him off at a McDonald’s in nearby Streamwood on Dec. 31. He and Hill were acquaintances, and the victim was to spend the night with him. The parents reported him missing the next day.
Hill picked the victim up in what police say was a stolen van. Eventually they ended up at the apartment of the Covington sisters. The assault took place over four or five hours on Tuesday after a “play fight” between Hill and the victim escalated, Duffin said.
He said that at one point, a downstairs neighbor called police to complain about noise, prompting the women to kick in her door. That allowed the victim to escape, Duffin said.
Officer Michael Donnelly said at the news conference that he saw the victim with Hill on the street, wearing a tank top inside out and backwards, jean shorts, and sandals. He was bloody and battered, Donnelly said.
“He was discombobulated,” the officer said. “He was inured. He was confused. And at which time, I called an ambulance.”