Facebook Live torture video: President Barack Obama calls hate crime ‘despicable’

President says problems have been there for a long time but public exposure to racially motivated crimes has grown due to social media

Friday 06 January 2017 12:13
Disabled teenager tied up and beaten while people shout Donald Trump insults in racially charged attack

President Barack Obama described the torture of a mentally disabled man in Chicago, which was streamed live on Facebook, as a “despicable” hate crime.

Mr Obama said the problems had been there for a long time but public exposure to racially motivated crimes had grown due to social media.

He said he believed race relations had not worsened but stressed there was the capacity to improve.

"What we have seen as surfacing, I think, are a lot of problems that have been there a long time," President Obama told CBS Chicago.

"Whether it's tensions between police and communities, 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," Mr Obama added.

"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."

A woman, 24-year-old Tanishia Covington, and three 18-year-olds, Jordan Hill, Tesfaye Cooper and Brittany Covington, are due in court accused of aggravated battery with a weapon after they allegedly tortured a disabled teenager.

The group appeared to cut the man’s scalp with a knife, repeatedly punched and kicked him, forced him to drink toilet water and yelled profanities including “F*** white people” and “F*** Donald Trump”.

The 28-minute video on Facebook Live shows the 18-year-old crouched in the corner of a room, tied up with tape over his mouth.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in