CHICAGO – a Chicago judge refused to to four black people caught on to the mobile phone, images to challenge and beat a mentally disabled white man to post bail and leave jail, saying that they are accused of “terrible actions” that they are a danger to society.
“Where was your sense of decency?” Cook County Circuit Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil asked them on Friday during their first appearance, sounding flabbergasted that the suspects could be charged with such cruelty to the 18-year-old victim.
The beating was captured on mobile phone video by one of the attackers and has since then millions of views on social media. The graphic footage shows the suspects and the challenge of the victim with blasphemies against the white people and the President-elect of Donald Trump.
Prosecutors offered new details of the attack, explaining that one of the suspects demanded the $300 of the mother of the victim, who is schizophrenic and has attention-deficit-disorder. They also said that the beating started in a of when the same attacker was angry that the mother had contact with him to ask that her son be allowed to come home.
A prosecutor told the court that the suspects forced the victim to drink toilet water, kiss the floor and then allegedly stuffed a sock in his mouth and taped it shut as they tied his hands with a belt.
The four are charged with two counts of committing a hate crime — a result of the victim of the race and the other because of his mental disability.
On the video, the male suspects of knives for cutting the victim’s hair and on his sweater. One of the females can be seen laughing. A woman laughs as she punches the victim.
One of the men pulls the plug on the victim’s sweatshirt around the victim’s neck and holds him up, while the victim groans of pain, according to a document read in court. The victim can be heard screaming as one of the men walks towards him with a knife, and asks if he needs to “shank” him.
At one point, the prosecutor said, someone on the video can be heard to say that he didn’t care if the victim was schizophrenic.
The four suspects were identified as Brittany Covington and Tesfaye Cooper, both of Chicago, and Jordan Hill, one of the suburbs of Carpentersville. All the 18. A fourth suspect was identified as Covington, the 24-year-old sister, Tanishia Covington, also of Chicago.
They stood quietly as the prosecutor read the allegations. Some of their family members also listened, including a woman, who, with tears in her eyes.
Defense attorneys portrayed the defendants as hard-working, responsible and religious. Cooper, for example, takes care of his twin brother, who is in a wheelchair. Tanishia Covington has two small children. Her sister attends college and has a job. Hill, the judge was told, goes to church with his grandmother.
All four have experienced brushes with the law, some for serious and violent crimes.
Hill, for example, was arrested as a juvenile in 2015 on charges of armed robbery, possession of a stolen vehicle and residential burglary. Chicago police said they did not know the disposition of those arrests by suburban officers.
Tanishia Covington was arrested in 2007 on the attempted armed robbery and aggravated battery charges. Police showing no convictions as a minor. As an adult, she was arrested on charges of battery and aggravated assault, but that charge was withdrawn.
The uproar over the beating intensifies the shine on Chicago after a bloody year of the violent crime and the protests against Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a police department that is accused of using excessive violence and hushing up violations. The department has also been the subject of a long civil-rights investigation by the Ministry of Justice, which is expected to report its findings soon.
The incident also stirred up emotions still raw after a presidential campaign that split the nation. Some conservatives suggested that it was linked to the Black Lives Matter movement. The police said that there was no indication of a connection.
The incident began on new year’s eve, when the victim and the alleged offender Jordan Hill met in a suburb of McDonald’s, and then called his parents later to say that he stayed with Hill for a sleepover.
Instead, Hill drove the victim around in a stolen van for a few days, ending up in a home in Chicago, where two of the other suspects lived, police said.
The victim, the parents reported him missing Monday night, two days after the last hearing of him. The victim eventually escaped and a policeman saw him wandering down a street, bloodied and disoriented.