Four teens have been taken into custody by police for holding hostage, beating and torturing a young man in a Chicago West Side apartment on Jan. 3. The group of teens live-streamed their treatment of the victim on Facebook (video below).
Two men and two women, all believed to be aged 18, were arrested by Chicago police on Jan. 4 soon after officials learned of the 30-minute social media video, the Daily Mail reports.
The victim, a young man in his late teens or early 20s, is believed to be a schoolmate of one of the suspects and has special needs.
The hostage situation was posted on Facebook Live by a Brittany Herring but has since been deleted from her Facebook page.
The team of suspects is believed to have held the victim hostage for one to two days, and reportedly sent text messages to the victim's parents as they held the young man. The parents of the victims reported him missing on Jan. 2.
In the video, the victim is seen sitting in a corner with his arms tied and mouth taped shut. The teens film him being punched, kicked, and having his hair cut until his scalp started bleeding.
The teens also cut the victim's clothes and flick cigarette ash over his head wound.
Someone in the background can be heard shouting "F*** Donald Trump! F*** white people!" as the two male suspect teens say they hope the video will be popular on social media.
Two more clips of the reported torture emerged, with one of the videos showing the teens forcing the victim to drink water out of a toilet.
"It's sickening," said Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson on Jan. 4. "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 that you shouldn't see in a lifetime, but it still amazes me how you still see things that you just shouldn't."
He continued: "I'm not going to say it shocked me, but it was sickening."
Officials stated the victim was treated at a hospital and has been reunited with his parents, who live in a Crystal Lake suburb.
Chicago Police Cmdr. Kevin Duffin stated the victim was a school acquaintance of one of the suspect teens.
"Apparently, they met out in the suburbs. These subjects then stole a van out in the suburbs and then brought him into Chicago," he said.
"It is quite possible that it is a kidnapping. [The victim] is traumatized by the incident and it is a little tough to communicate with him. It took most of the night for him to calm down enough to be able to talk to us,” he said, The Guardian reports.
After keeping the victim hostage for one to two days, the offenders let him go free.
Police picked up the victim at around 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 3 in the neighborhood of the apartment he had been held in. He had been walking around anxious and disoriented and was wearing shorts in the middle of a Chicago winter.
The young man then took them to the apartment building where the hostage situation had occurred, and police noted signs of damage and struggle.
Soon after they were tipped off to the Facebook live-stream, police were able to use one of the suspects' phones to find and arrest the whole group.
Authorities will be filing official charges within the next 24 hours.
While racial motivations for the situation are still being investigated, police stated they do not believe the four teens said anything that made the attack seem political.
"I think some of it is just stupidity, people just ranting about something that they think might make a headline. I don't think that at this point we have anything concrete to really point us in that direction, but we'll keep investigating and we'll let the facts guide us on how this concludes," Johnson said.