President Barack Obama has joined in the outrage against the Facebook Live video posted on Jan. 3 of young black men and women assaulting a disabled white man.
The video, which shows two young men and two young women in Chicago tying up and torturing the man, was described as “despicable” by Obama in an interview on CBS, reports the Daily Mail.
The young men and women, aged 18-24, are seen in the video beating, cutting and laughing at the bound and gagged man. They also cut his hair until his scalp bled and made him drink water from a toilet.
Their political and racial motivations are evident in the accompanying audio, with calls of “f*** Donald Trump” and “f*** white people.”
Obama cautioned that race relations in the U.S. are not getting worse, despite this example of black-on-white crime and the many other examples of white-on-black crime that have been captured on video and shared on social media.
He said citizens have become more aware of such crimes because of the prevalence of new media technology, which he explained as follows:
I don't think it's accurate to say race relations are getting worse. In part because we see visuals of racial tensions, violence and so forth because of smartphones and the internet.
What we have seen as surfacing, I think, are a lot of problems that have been there a long time. Whether it's tensions between police and communities, whether it's hate crimes of the despicable sort that has just now recently surfaced on Facebook.
The good news is that the next generation that's coming behind us … have smarter, better, more thoughtful attitudes about race. I think the overall trajectory of race relations in this country is actually very positive. It doesn't mean that all racial problems have gone away. It means that we have the capacity to get better.
Two men and two women have been arrested and charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated battery and a hate crime, according to Chicago police.
The suspects have been identified as Jordan Hill, 18; Tesfaye Cooper, 18; and sisters Brittany and Tanisha Covington, who are 18 and 24, respectively.
The victim, a white man in his teens or early 20s, escaped and was later found wandering the streets.
The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson said he was trying to reach the victim’s family and wants to do “whatever we can do to help, to show our love for the child,” reports The New York Times.
White House press secretary, Josh Earnest, used the words “depravity” and “outrage” to describe the assault. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel called it “sickening.”