Four black Chicago teens are currently in custody after broadcasting the torture of a mentally challenged white teenager on Facebook Live yesterday, reports NBC News. The four teenagers, who haven’t been named by the police, could be seen kicking the bound and gagged victim and burning him with cigarettes while at various points shouting “Fuck Donald Trump!” and “Fuck white people!” Outraged observers have since sparked the trending #BLMKidnapping hashtag on Twitter in response to what has been deemed a Black Lives Matter hate crime, though there’s no known link between the crime and the protest group.
According to Chicago police, the four 18-year-olds in question, two men and two women, stole a van and took the victim, a classmate of one of the assailants, to an unspecified location in Chicago. They then proceeded to torture him, with one recording the brutal beating on Facebook Live for about 30 minutes. Officials says the young man was missing for at least 24 hours and perhaps longer, and was found wandering the streets of Chicago before being taken to an area hospital. The incident is now being investigated as a kidnapping and potential hate crime, and all four teens are being questioned.
"It's sickening," said Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson during a police conference last night. "I've been a cop for 28 years and seen things that you shouldn't see in a lifetime, but it still amazes me that you see things that you shouldn't."
The video has since been taken down by Facebook. "We do not allow people to celebrate or glorify crimes on Facebook and have removed the original video for this reason,” a Facebook spokesperson wrote in a statement. “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."
However, it has proven to be as incendiary as it is disturbing since clips have appeared on numerous news outlets. Some viewers, including The Blaze’s Glenn Beck and white nationalist leader Richard Spencer, watched the broadcast and linked the crime to Black Lives Matter while also criticizing Johnson for hesitating to call the torture a hate crime, using the now-viral #BLMKidnapping tag.
However, the attackers never made any mention of Black Lives Matter, a peaceful protest organization, during the Live video. A backlash has already begun, with Twitter users and activists calling the hashtag manufactured to prey on the white people’s fear that black people and the larger BLM movement are dangerous.
It goes without saying that the actions being branded by the far-right as the "BLM Kidnapping" have nothing to do w/ the movement.— deray mckesson (@deray) January 5, 2017
Whatever else, the torture of a white teen by black teenagers is already feeding into the deep racial tension that has erupted since the election of Donald Trump. We’ve reached out to the Chicago Police Department for comment.
Update January 5th, 2:10PM ET: According to AP, hate crime and battery charges have been filed against the four suspects.
CHICAGO (AP) — Hate crime, battery charges filed against four black suspects accused in beating of white man streamed live on Facebook.— Steven Shepard (@POLITICO_Steve) January 5, 2017