Chicago Police Hold Press Conference Addressing Facebook Live Video Depicting Beating of ‘Traumatized’ Chicago Man

Chicago Police Press Conference screenshot

Chicago Police held a press conference Wednesday evening to address a Facebook live video showing assailants beating and at one point slashing a victim tied up in an apartment, in which they were heard saying “f*** white people” and “f*** Trump.”

Lt. Stephen Sesso said:

Some alert 11th District officers encountered an individual that didn’t seem right. They saw that this individual was in distress; he was in crisis. And they cared enough to do something about it. This individual was taken to the hospital, and an investigation conducted. At the same time, there were some individuals from another incident taken into custody at roughly the same address. The officers working together hand in hand were able to put together that the individual they encountered in distress was missing from one of our suburbs, and considered an ‘endangered missing.’

“The address they found the individual at coincides with the address of the rest of some of those individuals. So, in the course of talking to the individual who was in distress, they were able to determine the location was most likely one in the same,” he continued. Police then detained the suspects.

Sesso turned the conference over to Commander Kevin Duffin, who said detectives “communicated with the suburb” from which the victim was missing.

Two of the suspects are adult males and the other two were adult females, and three were from Chicago, Duffin said. “They have given videotaped statements, and currently the Cook County attorney’s office is… interviewing the victim,” Duffin said. “We anticipate charges in the next 24 hours.”

A reporter asked how the victim got to Chicago. “He is an acquaintance of one of these subjects,” Duffin answered, “and apparently they met out in the suburbs. These then subjects stole a van out in the suburbs and brought him to Chicago.”

“So kidnapped out in the suburbs?” a reporter asked.

“We’re still talking to the victim, so it’s quite a possibility that it is a kidnapping,” Duffin replied. “That’s certainly one of the charges we’ll be seeking if it turns out to be that.”

The victim is “traumatized by the incident,” Duffin said, “and it’s very difficult to communicate with him at this point.” Duffin also denied the crime had a drug connection.

Another reporter asked how long were the individuals held in custody.

“It appears at least 24 hours,” Duffin replied. “We’re thinking as long as 48 hours.” There was a “missing persons” report filed in the suburbs, Duffin confirmed.

Asked if the videotaped incident would be considered a hate crime, police superintendent Eddie Johnson said that “If the facts guide us in that direction, then we’ll certainly charge them appropriately.”

Johnson called the video “sickening”: “It’s sickening. It makes you wonder what would make individuals treat somebody like that. I’ve been a cop for 28 years and I’ve seen things you shouldn’t see in a lifetime. It still amazes me how you still see things you just shouldn’t. So I’m not going to say it shocked me, but it was sickening.”

Another reporter asked about things said in the video of the attack about white people and Donald Trump. “You know, although they are adults, they’re 18,” Duffin said. “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.”

Asked if police have a motive for the attack, Duffin said they “have not.”

“You said he [the victim] knew one of them. How?” a reporter asked. Duffin replied, “They attended a school together in the suburbs.”

No other adults were involved, Duffin said. One of the suspects under investigation by Chicago police is a woman who broadcast the attack on Facebook Live.

“I don’t want to get into his medical condition. He was traumatized fairly good. Like I said, I mean, it took most of the night for him to calm down enough for him to be able to talk to us.”

“It appears he initially went voluntarily with the one subject he knew,” Duffin added. “I don’t know how the other three got involved. Like I said, we’re still investigating.”

Watch the press conference on the Chicago police’s official Periscope feed here.


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