Four suspects held without bail in Chicago Facebook Live assault | News | DW | 07.01.2017
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Four suspects held without bail in Chicago Facebook Live assault

A Chicago judge has ordered a group accused of torturing an 18-year-old with special needs to be held without bail. The suspects also face hate crime charges for the attack, part of which was broadcast on Facebook Live.

Four suspects accused of kidnapping and beating a mentally disabled man in an assault posted online via Facebook Live were ordered held without bail on Friday.

Cook County Circuit Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil rebuked the suspects before denying their attorneys' pleas to set bail.

"I'm looking at each of you and wondering where was the sense of decency that each of you should have had?" Judge Ciesil said, according to the "Chicago Tribune."

"I find each of you a danger to yourself and society," she added.

The suspects - 18-year-olds Jordan Hill, Tesfaye Cooper and Brittany Covington, and 24-year-old Tanishia Covington - were each charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon on Thursday.

The four African-Americans are accused of kidnapping and torturing the 18-year-old white man and making racial taunts. Video of the assault on Facebook showed one of the men using a knife to cut the victim's hair and scalp while others shouted obscenities about President-elect Donald Trump and "white people."

Authorities also charged the group with two counts of committing a hate crime - one count due to the victim's race and the other due to his mental disabilities.

The assistant state's attorney Erin Antonietti told reporters outside the court that the victim is schizophrenic and suffers from attention deficit disorder.

After the ruling, the grandmother of the two sisters charged in the attack told reporters, "I didn't raise them that way," reported the "Chicago Tribune."

Details of assault emerge

During Friday's hearing, prosecutors offered new details about the assault, including that the victim knew one of the suspects through school. The suspect, Hill, also demanded $300 from the victim's mother after he became angry that she contacted him asking for her son's return.

The beating then started in a stolen van but moved to a Chicago apartment where the suspects forced the 18-year-old to drink toilet water and stuffed a sock in his mouth.

The group's defense attorneys portrayed the suspects as hardworking and responsible. Lawyers said that Cooper takes care of his twin brother, who is in a wheelchair. Brittany Covington attends college and has a job, while her sister has two small children. The judge was told that Hill frequently attends church with his grandmother.

All four of the suspects have also had prior experiences with the law, some for violent crimes.

Although some conservative pundits suggested the assault was linked to the Black Lives Matter movement, police said there was no indication of any connection.

rs/kl  (AP, Reuters)