Four charged for Chicago Facebook attack of mentally challenged man

By Doug G. Ware   |   Updated Jan. 6, 2017 at 6:43 AM

CHICAGO, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Authorities in Chicago charged four young adults Thursday for the beating of a mentally ill man that was broadcast live on Facebook.

Two men and two women were taken into custody and charged with multiple felonies in the beating of an unidentified 18-year-old male on Tuesday. The victim was an acquaintance of one of the suspects, police said.

Authorities believe the victim had been tied up for hours during the assault, which investigators said was prompted by an argument and play fighting that turned real.

The beating, which was live streamed on Facebook, was seen around the world and sparked widespread attention.

The suspects were identified as Jordan Hill, 18; Tesfaye Cooper, 18; Brittany Covington, 18; and Tanishia Covington, 24. The women are sisters, officials said.

The charges the suspects face include aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.

In addition to the assault counts, the suspects have been charged with hate crimes. The suspects are all black and the victim is white. Officials said racial epithets and disparaging remarks about President-elect Donald Trump were heard on the web broadcast.

"[The sisters] got aggravated with [the victim], and that is when he was tied up and the racial slurs, the references to his mental capacity started coming out," Chicago Police Cmdr. Kevin Duffin said. "That is primarily why they are charged with a hate crime."

According to police, the suspects beat and kicked the victim and made him drink toilet water. The suspects also appeared to use a knife to cut the victim's hair and scalp.

"He was bloodied, he was battered," Officer Michael Donnelly said. "He was very discombobulated, he was injured, he was confused."

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