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Facebook Live Torture brings stream of controversy

Matthew Short

Matthew Short

Matthew Short

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Two men and two women were arrested in Chicago for the kidnapping, torture, and abuse of an 18 year old disabled man on Jan. 5. What brought this case out of local Chicago news and into the national and even global view, were the hate crime implications brought from the fact that the mentally disabled victim was white, while all four perpetrators were black. Not only that, 29 minutes of the inhumane torture they put this man through was streamed onto Facebook Live, a new service Facebook deployed in April of 2016.

Throughout the live stream, the two men and women shouted obscene things towards the man, incited by race and political angst. One of the male perpetrators can be heard declaring, “He represents Donald Trump!” and, “F*** white people! F*** Donald Trump!”

Racial tension has been rising due in part to the election cycle. The victory of Donald Trump was seen as a victory for the privileged and white part of the country, but as a loss for minorities by a lot of people. A few white students weighed in on the racist comments said by the perpetrators.

“There’s an underlying belief that white people live easier lives simply because of their skin color,”  senior David Tullis said. “White people are considered privileged, but for many whites that’s just not that case. Believing that all white people are privileged and dismissing racism against white people is racist in itself.”

The Chicago Police Department determined on Jan. 5 that this incident was a hate crime, and subsequently all four assailants have had hate crime charges filed against them. “I think that all four of them (the assailants) should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,”  junior Joey Sinopoli said.

The only argument of substance made against hate crime charges is the fact that the assailants are 18 and young, however Sinopoli and Tullis both expressed how this doesn’t make a difference to them.

“They certainly need to be charged with hate crimes, assault and battery, and kidnapping. Just because they’re kids doesn’t mean what they did wasn’t inexcusable,” Tullis said.

With racial tension in the country rising between blacks and whites, the “politically correct” culture of “racism can’t happen towards white people,” which is birthed out of a fear of offending minorities and subsequently being shamed and blasted for it, is being challenged.

“If anything, it’s racist to believe that you can’t be racist towards any specific group of people. It’s mutually exclusive,”  Sinopoli said.

A GoFundMe page has been created to support the victim and as of the writing of this piece, has gathered nearly $180,000.

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Facebook Live Torture brings stream of controversy