The Chicago Facebook Live attack wasn’t about race

The Chicago Facebook Live attack wasn't about race
Brittany Covington, Jordan Hill, Tanishia Covington, Tesfaye Cooper

By now I’m sure we’ve all heard about the beating and torture that was streamed on Facebook Live out of Chicago. What the headlines were quick to point out is that the suspects were black and the victim was white. What the media was not very quick to point out was everything else in the story. Then again, facts don’t sell papers or get clicks from Facebook, knee-jerk outrage does in these times. In what seems to be the norm these days, most people online were quick to defend their own personal biases in the wake of this story while the truth became lost. It’s my hope to wade through the muck of personal prejudice to find at least a rose petal of truth.

Here’s how the story was first reported

The 18-year-old man, who had been reported missing by his parents in Crystal Lake earlier this week, is shown crouching in a corner on a video carried on Facebook Live. His wrists are bound and his mouth is taped shut.

As a woman shoots the video, two men cut the man’s shirt with knives, then take turns punching him and stomping his head. One of the men cuts the victim’s hair and scalp with a knife, and it appears the man is bleeding.

As the man crouches against a wall, someone shouts, “F‑‑‑ Donald Trump” and “F‑‑‑ white people.”

That was all that was needed to send the Facebook knee-jerk brigade into full meltdown. In some cases, you could almost smell the kerosene being poured on the crosses. A lot of people seemed to be under the impression that this roving gang of black thugs was just roaming the streets of Chicago looking for someone white that they could torture because Trump won the election. Cries of ‘hate crime’ rang down from the pale tableau of the Facebook masses. Those charged with the attack are Jordan Hill, 18; Tesfaye Cooper; 18; Brittany Covington, 18; and Tanishia Covington, 24. They have all been charged with hate crimes as the mob had demanded. As it turns out, race may have been the least of the motives involved.

Jordan Hill was actually said to be a friend of the victim. The victim’s parents dropped him off at a Chicago McDonald’s so the victim could have a sleepover at Hill’s. The attack was said to have occurred when the victim got into a ‘play fight’ with Hill and then the Covington sisters became annoyed with the victim, and that the attack may have escalated due to drugs and alcohol. Another motive that has been discussed is that the suspects had allegedly planned on extorting something from the victim’s family as they reportedly sent the victim’s family text messages saying that their son was being held captive. In yet another report, Hill allegedly started beating the victim when the victim’s parents kept trying to contact Hill about their son’s location. All four suspects have been held without bail.

Now having said all that, some of you may have the notion that somehow I am trying to excuse the four suspects from what they’ve done. Nothing could be further from the truth. They deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and sentenced to whatever the maximum punishment may be. However, we shouldn’t be outraged by the races of everyone involved with this crime, but rather the fact that four people not only brutally tortured a special needs man but had the audacity to broadcast it live on Facebook. We shouldn’t be blaming the Black Lives Matter Movement or Donald Trump voters for this crime as no one involved is representative of either base. The only thing that race had to with this crime is that it made for inflammatory headlines. Should they have been charged with a hate crime? Absolutely, but mostly because the victim is mentally diminished.

Ask yourselves this. If the victim had been black, would this had been just another story out of crime-ridden Chicago? Would there be any Facebook outrage then? Respectively, those answers would be yes and no.

I’ll be posting more updates on this story as they become available and as time allows.

UPDATE 1/29/2017: On Friday the public defenders representing the quartet said they want their clients released because they “are young people who do not deserve to be there.” If this story wasn’t so tragic that might almost be funny. If they felt old enough to torture this poor man, then they’re old enough to be in jail.

UPDATE 2/11/2017: All four suspects have entered not guilty pleas and are being held without bond. Their next court appearance is scheduled for March 1st.

UPDATE 3/14/2017: A judge has ordered that private attorneys be assigned to Brittany Covington and Tesfaye Cooper, in order to avoid a conflict of interest with the Public Defender’s office.

UPDATE 12/11/2017: Brittany Covington has pleaded guilty to hate crime charges and has been sentenced to four years probation and has been banned from social media during that time. She must also avoid the other suspects, except her sister, and must complete 200 hours of community service. The other three suspects are still awaiting trial.

UPDATE 1/10/2018: Jordan Hill is facing additional assault charges after allegedly attacking another inmate while in custody.

UPDATE 4/20/2018: Tanishia Covington was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of intimidation and aggravated battery.

UPDATE 7/7/2018: Jordan Hill was sentenced to 8 years behind bars after rejecting a plea deal that would have resulted in a similar sentence.

10 thoughts on “The Chicago Facebook Live attack wasn’t about race”

    1. Fuck people who generalize an entire group of people based on their melanin. People who generalize an entire race seldom see the individuals who do their best to better the lives of those around them. I’m a BLM supporter. If I based everyone who wasn’t white off the repugnant actions of these filthy individuals, I’d miss the larger scope. I wouldn’t know that black people had it harder than white people, I wouldn’t care enough to look at people who support the nonviolent protests. I would be a white male who based an entire movement on ignorant little pieces of amphibious shit I just might say “fuck black people,” but I don’t. I say fuck these kids for enforcing stereotypes. Fuck radical extremists, racist, and people who can knowingly support the actions of these misinformed individuals. Ignorance breeds hate. Ignorance enforces generalization. Ignorance puts people in power that have no business getting out and into a level of humanity that they only claim to understand. Check your facts, reach out, and accept some knowledge that could change your entire view of the world. Unfortunately there are extremists on both sides. These people are often the first to get in the news. It’s a ratings game. Big corporations like to pat themselves on delivering the “true” story. Anyone with half a brain would know that these are generalists, extremists and support totalitarian ideals. Get facts, get smart, and hang out with better friends who actually care for humanity and especially black rights. That train of thought is what people fight against. They open up, put their necks out there knowing people will say stuff like you. The do it selflessly and willingly. We may never face the same sociological crimes that black people do, but we do understand it is a blight that we need to stop and stand against.


  1. I read an interesting report from several students at a college that did an experiment. They wrote ‘fake’ news articles and shared them with random strangers. They wrote 6 news articles. In the first 6 no mention of race just the stories. They then changed the articles to add race. The articles without race were met with mild concern. The articles mentioning the race of the bad guys; white, black, Hispanic etc, received uproar from the readers. It needs to stop all together and I’ve felt this for years. It is easy to say 6 assholes beat and tortured a young, mentally challenged man for no other reason than for their own sick and deprived fancies!!!! No, it will not get the outrage media is expecting but the story will still be told.


  2. Racist ranting was an after thought . They probably choose the kid because he was weaker than they were. Why his parents didn’t know the kids that their special needs kid was associated with is beyond me. Shitty parenting all around.


  3. If Hollywood has taught us anything, never do anything near a place called Crystal Lake. Watch Friday the 13th and see for yourself.


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