4 charged with hate crimes in Facebook live beating of disabled man

LEFT to RIGHT: Brittany Covington, Tesfaye Cooper, Jordan Hill, Tanishia Covington (From: Chicago Police Department)


CHICAGO (AP) – Prosecutors have filed hate crime and aggravated kidnapping charges against four black suspects accused of beating and taunting a white man during an attack streamed live on Facebook.

Cook County prosecutors on Thursday announced charges against three 18-year-olds – Jordan Hill of Carpentersville, Brittany Covington of Chicago and Tesfaye Cooper of Chicago – and 24-year-old Tanishia Covington of Chicago.

Prosecutors say the four are also charged with aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Three have also been charged with residential burglary.

The charges stem from an incident that went on for as many as 48 hours. Police have said the victim has “mental health challenges.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest says the beating of a mentally disabled man that was broadcast live on Facebook demonstrates “a level of depravity that is an outrage to a lot of Americans.”

Earnest says he has not yet spoken to President Barack Obama about the incident in the president’s hometown of Chicago but says he’s confident Obama “would be angered by the images that are depicted on that video.”