Chicago, IL - The Chicago Four, as they are now known, pleaded not guilty on Friday in the unconscionable Facebook Live attack on a mentally disabled man.
According to The Chicago Sun-Times, Tanishia Covington, 24, Brittany Covington, 18, Jordan Hill, 18, and Tesfaye Cooper, 18, were represented by Assistant Public Defenders at their arraignment before Cook County Judge William Hooks. Their next court date was set for March 1, 2017.
The January 3, 2017, attack drew outrage across the city and the country. The four defendants are black and the victim of the hate crime is white. After the video was posted and the Chicago Four were arrested, they were held in custody under no bond, according to The Chicago Tribune.
They are each charged with a Hate Crime, Aggravated Kidnapping, Aggravated Unlawful Restraint, and Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon. Hill, Cooper, and Brittany Covington have also been charged with Residential Burglary. And Hill is also charged with Possession of a Stolen Vehicle.
The disturbing 30-minute video was taken on a cell phone by one of the defendants and showed them holding a mentally disabled man captive in a West Side apartment. It also showed them forcing him to drink water from a toilet, cutting his scalp with a knife while forcing him to say, "I love black people."
On the video, the mentally disabled victim, age 18, was gagged with plastic and bound, and shown cowering in a corner. It also showed the victim being tortured for hours on the live video. One defendant was heard saying “I don’t give a f— if he is schizophrenic.”
Another defendant said “F— Trump” and “F— white people”.
Hill, who is a classmate of the victim, actually called the victim's mother and demanded $300 for his safe return.
Neighbors had called police because of a noise complaint coming from inside the apartment. The victim was found outside in freezing weather, wearing only a tank top, shorts, and sandals. He was taken to a local hospital for treatment and was released. The public made the police aware of the video, according to Reuters.
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