Chicago Police detectives are questioning four African-Americans suspected of torturing a white mentally disabled man and recording the attack, while someone yelled “F— Trump!” and “F— white people!”
Police officials did not specify which formal charges they were seeking, though they did not rule out classifying the attack as a hate crime.
The case’s executive officer, Steven Sesso of the Harrison District, said officers on patrol Tuesday near Homan and Lexington encountered the man.
“They saw clearly that this individual was in distress and he was in crisis. And they cared enough to do something about it.”
The victim is believed to have been held hostage and tortured in an apartment in the 3400 block of West Lexington on the West Side, Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.
One reason officers initially stopped to talk to the man was that he was wearing shorts despite the day’s frigid temperature, Guglielmi said.
Several videos of the incident were posted on Facebook. In one of them, on a woman’s Facebook page, a man threatens the victim with a knife. Someone tells the victim, “kiss the floor, b—-!” and “nobody can help you anymore.” At one point, someone tells the man, “say ‘I love black people.’ ”
About 5:30 p.m., officers were called to a battery in progress about half a block away from where the victim was picked up. At the battery scene, “they discovered signs of a struggle and damage to property and were able to link this evidence to the disoriented male,” according to a statement from police.
After being made aware of the video, police felt certain the disoriented man and the battery were connected.
The victim, a resident of northwest suburban Crystal Lake, knew one of the people arrested in connection with his attack from school, according to Area North Detectives Commander Kevin Duffin.
From Streamwood — where the man was reported to local police as missing — the four took a stolen vehicle to the West Side, officials said.
He was with the four for about 24 hours until, police believe, they decided to release him.
Johnson said he was “very proud of those officers and proud of the detectives’ work.”
Johson added that the videos are “just sickening.”
“It makes you wonder what would make individuals treat somebody like that,” Johnson said. “I’ve been a cop for 28 years and I’ve seen things that you shouldn’t see in a lifetime, but it still amazes me how you still see things that you just shouldn’t.”
The politically motivated language may have been “stupid ranting and raving,” but police are looking into if the four were sincere and, if so, that could factor into potential hate crime charges, Duffin said.
“Although they are adults, they’re 18,” Duffin said. “They’re young adults and they make stupid decisions.”
Duffin declined to specify the extent of the man’s injuries, but did say he was “traumatized.” Guglielmi said he suffered cuts and burns.
Community activist Andrew Holmes said of the incident: “In so many ways this was a hate crime because of what they said to him — saying he’s with Trump. When you make a person say, ‘I love black people,’ that’s a hate crime all the way.”
Holmes said he hopes the video doesn’t provoke a racial backlash in Chicago.
“Let the chips fall where they may, and let the judicial system work,” he said.
In November, the day after the election, an online video showed a man being attacked in the North Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side, while bystanders taunted him, saying he had voted for Donald Trump.
Eventually, four people were charged in connection with that attack.[“source-ndtv”]