More disturbing details have emerged of a violent “hate crime” carried out against a mentally disabled white man in Chicago as four black people stand accused of such “terrible actions” that they pose a danger to society.
A judge has refused to grant bail for three 18-year-olds and a 24-year-old who are suspected of carrying out the attack against an 18-year-old victim.
Cook County Circuit Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil asked the accused on Friday: “Where was your sense of decency?”.
The four suspects were identified as Brittany Covington, Tesfaye Cooper and Jordan Hill. All are 18. A fourth suspect was identified as Covington’s 24-year-old sister, Tanishia Covington.
Disturbing footage emerged online last week of an man being bound, gagged and tortured in a Facebook Live video.
Assailants in the footage shouted “fuck Donald Trump” and “fuck white people”.
Prosecutors offered new details of the assault on Friday, explaining that one of the suspects demanded $300 (£244) from the mother of the victim, who is schizophrenic and has attention-deficit disorder.
They also said the beating started in a van when the same attacker became angry that the mother had contacted him asking that her son be allowed to come home, the Associated Press reports.
A prosecutor told the judge that the suspects forced the victim to drink toilet water, kiss the floor and then allegedly stuffed a sock into his mouth and taped it shut as they bound his hands with a belt.
The four are charged with two counts of committing a hate crime - one because of the victim’s race and the other because of his mental disabilities.
On the video, the male suspects use knives to cut the victim’s hair and his sweatshirt. One of the females can be seen laughing. A female also laughs as she punches the victim.
One of the men pulls the cord from the victim’s sweatshirt around the victim’s neck and holds him up while the victim groans in pain, according to a document read in court. The victim can be heard screaming when one of the men walks up to him with a knife and asks if he should “shank” him.
At one point, the prosecutor said, someone on the video can be heard saying that he did not care if the victim was schizophrenic.
The suspects stood quietly as the prosecutor read the allegations. Some of their relatives also listened, including a woman who wiped tears from her eyes.
Defence lawyers portrayed the suspects as hardworking, 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 was arrested as a juvenile in 2015 on allegations 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 attempted armed robbery and aggravated battery charges. Police records do not show any convictions as a juvenile. As an adult, she was arrested on charges of battery and aggravated assault, but those charges were dropped.
The incident began on New Year’s Eve, when the victim and alleged assailant Jordan Hill met at a suburban McDonald’s, and then called his parents later to say he was staying with Hill for a sleepover.
Instead, Hill drove the victim around in a stolen van for a couple of days, ending up at a home in Chicago, where two of the other suspects lived, police said.
The victim’s parents reported him missing Monday evening, two days after last hearing from him. The victim eventually escaped and a police officer spotted him wandering down a street, bloodied and disoriented.