Facebook Live Assault Brings More Unwelcome Attention to Chicago

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Already facing unwanted scrutiny over a soaring murder rate and a civil rights investigation of its police department, Chicago again is receiving unwelcome attention after an 18-year-old special-needs student was viciously assaulted in an attack streamed live on Facebook.

The four African-American suspects charged with hate crimes and other felonies for allegedly beating, torturing and humiliating a white acquaintance were all ordered to be held without bail Friday afternoon.

Prosecutors said that two of the suspects ordered the victim, who suffered from mental health problems, to say “I love black people” and “f— Trump.” The suspects also repeatedly beat the teen and two of the suspects shoved his head into a toilet and made him drink from it, prosecutors said

“Where was your sense of decency,” asked Cook County Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil before rejecting the suspects plea for a reasonable bail.

The mayor and police superintendent of the nation’s third-largest city quickly denounced the disturbing assault. The nearly 30-minute video exploded on social media Wednesday.

“Let me be very clear, the actions in that video are reprehensible,” Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said. “That, along with racism, have absolutely no place in the city of Chicago. Or anywhere else for that matter.” Meanwhile, Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the actions in the video “sickening.”

The controversy comes following a bloody year in which Chicago has faced nationwide media attention for a surging murder rate, and as the police department struggled to restore trust in the city’s African-American community amid a U.S. Justice Department civil rights investigation of the agency’s patterns and practices.

The city tallied 762 murders and more than 4,300 shooting victims in 2016, more than New York and Los Angeles combined. Earlier this week, Trump took to Twitter to say if Emanuel can’t solve the endemic violence — a level the city has not seen in nearly 20 years — then “he must ask for Federal help.”

Some law enforcement analysts suggest the rise in violence may be due in part to the city’s officers becoming more cautious following the court-ordered release in late 2015 of a police video showing a white officer fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald on a city street.

The officer in the incident, Jason Van Dyke, fired 16 shots at the black teen and was charged with murder on the day of the video’s release, which set off weeks of protests in the city and lead to the Justice Department’s civil rights investigation.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Aamer Madhani and Doug Stanglin

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