Chicago police have now charged four young people with hate crimes and other offences in connection with a video live-streamed on Facebook. The film shows the assault of a man believed to have special needs.
The man is seen cowering in a corner, bound and gagged, whilst he is beaten, partially scalped with a knife, his clothes are ripped, and a tie is tightened around his neck.
During the attack, the assailants, two male and two female, who are already being named on social media, are heard making derogatory remarks about white people and Donald Trump. All four of the attackers are black. Some of the speech on the video is slurred.
Police believe that the victim knew the quartet, who abducted him from the suburbs in a stolen van, and held him captive for between 24 and 48 hours. Kidnap is one of the charges they face.
Kevin Duffin, Chicago Police Department Commander said of the victim that “he is an acquaintance of one of these suspects and apparently they met out in the suburbs. These subjects then stole a van out in the suburbs and brought him into Chicago.”
A sickening attack
Eddie Johnson, Chicago Police Department Superintendent said “I’m not gonna say it shocked me, but it was sickening. I think some of it is just stupidity. People just ranting about something they think might make a headline.”
It is not yet clear whether the charge of hate crime is in relation to racist remarks, or the fact that the victim has special needs.
This aspect of the crime has given rise to heated debate on twitter and other social media.
Traumatised and disorientated
The victim was found wandering the streets in a traumatised and disorientated condition after the attack. He was taken to hospital, but the police found it difficult to encourage him to talk about what happened.
Questions have been asked about whether Facebook should have allowed such a disturbing video to be live-streamed on its site.
A spokesperson said in a statement: “We do not allow people to celebrate or glorify crimes on Facebook and have removed the original video for this reason. In many instances, though, when people share this type of content, they are doing so to condemn violence or raise awareness about it. In that case, the video would be allowed.”