CHICAGO (AP) — Charges are expected against four people who police say beat a man in an assault that was broadcast live on Facebook, Chicago police said.
The victim is a suburban Chicago resident who Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said has “mental health challenges.”
In a news conference Wednesday, Johnson described the video as “sickening.”
“It makes you wonder what would make individuals treat somebody like that,” he said.
The investigation began Monday after Capt. Steven Sasso said officers found a man who “was in distress and was in crisis” walking on a street on the city’s West Side. The man was taken to a hospital and it was later discovered that he had been reported missing from an unidentified suburb.
At about the same time, police took several people into custody at a nearby address where they found signs of a struggle and property damage. Investigators determined that the missing man had been at the same address.
Charges were expected to be filed within 24 hours, Cmdr. Kevin Duffin said Wednesday.
While police officials did not confirm the races of the suspects or victim, video from Chicago media outlets appeared to show someone off-camera using profanities about “white people” and President-elect Donald Trump. The victim appeared to be white, while others shown in the video appeared to be black.
A motive for the attack, racial or otherwise, has not been determined, police said.
When asked about the racial comments on the video, Duffin said the four in custody are “young adults and they make stupid decisions.” Investigators will have to determine whether the racial remarks were “sincere or just stupid ranting and raving” when considering a potential hate crime charge, Duffin said.
The victim was with his attackers for 24 to 48 hours before police found him, and the episode has left him shaken, according to Duffin.
“He’s traumatized by the incident and it’s very tough to communicate with him at this point,” he said.
The victim was a classmate of one of the attackers and initially went with that person voluntarily, Duffin said.
Police haven’t identified the individuals in custody, but said three are Chicago residents and one is from suburban Carpentersville.