The four African-American Chicago youths who violently tortured a white classmate and recorded it on Facebook Live were arraigned Friday. All pleaded not guilty.
Tanishia Covington, 24, Brittany Covington, 18, Jordan Hill, 18, and Tesfaye Cooper, 18, are each charged with a hate crime, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated unlawful restraint, and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. All four are represented by public defenders.
On Dec. 31, the defendants met an 18-year-old white male, who suffers from schizophrenia, at a McDonald’s and took him to an apartment, where he was tied up, beaten, gagged, and had a slice of his scalp removed. In the apartment, one of the women streamed the incident for almost half an hour on Facebook Live. The tormentors repeatedly shouted “fuck Trump” and “fuck white people.”
The sensationalism of the attack led to national coverage. President Obama called the incident a “horrific hate crime.”
According to the Chicago Sun, Amy Campanelli, the public defender in the county where the four are charged, criticized the widespread coverage, saying, “It is sad and unfortunate that many have commented on these young men and women without knowing all the facts…pervasive media coverage threatens to poison the jury pool for my clients.”
The next court date for the group, who are becoming known as “the Chicago Four,” is set for Mar. 1.