A Democrat strategist and former press secretary for Bernie Sanders is waving aside a suggestion that the taped torture of a man held captive in Chicago was a hate crime.
Symone Sanders was interviewed on CNN Wednesday evening. “I can’t say that it’s a hate crime because Chicago police won’t say it,” CNN host Don Lemon said. “They’re saying they’re still investigating. They’re not done with their investigation.”
“But when you look at this, Symone, they’re saying, ‘f white people,’ ‘f Trump’—how can you say it’s not a hate crime against a white person?” Lemon asked.
In the video, broadcast on Facebook live, assailants can be seen beating the tied-up and gagged victim and heard saying “f*** white people” and “f*** Trump.”
During a press conference held Wednesday, Chicago police said the “traumatized” victim may have been held hostage for 48 hours. Whether or not the suspects will be charged with a hate crime remains to be seen, said a police commander: “Kids make stupid decisions—I shouldn’t call them kids, they’re legally adults, but they’re young adults and they make stupid decisions. That certainly will be part of whether or not a hate crime is—seek a hate crime and determine whether or not this is sincere or just ranting and raving.”
“So, first I want to say this is absolutely sickening,” Sanders replied. “It’s unfathomable that so much anger and hate can fill up a person where they go out, and they think this is OK.”
“And it was stupid to do it on Facebook Live, but that’s a whole ‘nother story,” she added.
“So this is sickening,” she continued. “But I’m going to say something that’s probably not very popular. We cannot callously go about classifying things as a hate crime. Motive here matters.”
Sanders suggested the suspects who allegedly held and tortured their victim may have been motivated out of “hate” for statements Trump made, which makes the attack politically motivated and thus “not a hate crime.”
“So, was this for hate of Donald Trump, for the president-elect for the things he has said?” she asked. “Or pure hate of white people? That matters because if we start going around and anytime someone says something or does something really egregious, really bad, and as sickening as this in connection with the president-elect, or Donald Trump, or even President Obama for that matter because of their political leanings, that is slippery territory.”
“That is not a hate crime,” she said. “Hate crimes are because of a person’s racial ethnicity, their religion, their gender, their disability—your political leanings, because someone doesn’t like your political leanings, they do something bad to you, that is not a hate crime.”
In November, Sanders also dismissed the possibility of a hate crime after another shocking video out of Chicago showed a mob beating a white man while taunting him for supposedly voting Trump. The assailants stole his car and dragged him, stuck in the door, through the streets.
“Hate crimes and protesting are not the same thing,” Sanders said. “A hate crime is a crime that is committed against somebody because of their religion, because of what they look like, because of their sexual orientation. That’s not the same thing as protesting.”
“Then what do you say to the people who are—who dragged a poor white guy out of a car and beat him?” asked another guest during the discussion.
“Oh my goodness, poor white people!” Sanders exclaimed. “Please, oh my—stop. Stop it, Carl.”