The following editorial appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Monday, Jan. 9:
The decision to charge four young adult African-Americans in Chicago with hate crimes and other felonies for the abduction and torture of an 18-year-old white student with special needs was the correct one.
The case is especially notorious because of the depravity of the crime and the brazenness of the perpetrators. The victim was cut on the scalp, burned with cigarettes and beaten repeatedly while gagged and bound. They also heckled the victim with anti-white racial epithets and denunciations of President-elect Donald Trump.
The images of the beating show a clearly terrified man who will be feeling the mental effects of the trauma for years to come. He was reportedly beaten for hours by the merciless quartet in a residential apartment building.
The assailants broadcast 30 minutes of the torture sessions on Facebook Live. In doing so, the four sadists lost the advantage of anonymity that criminals usually strive to maintain. Getting caught means losing not only their personal freedom but also access to the social media that made them feel fulfilled.
Today Jordan Hill, 18, Tesfaye Cooper, 18, Brittany Covington, 18, and Tanishia Covington, 24, are facing charges that could send them to prison for the next 30 years.
They're young, but they're also old enough to understand the implication of their actions and go to prison for it. After all, they tortured an acquaintance and tried to generate fame from his humiliation and pain. Now they have more fame than they can ever deal with.
The fact that the four perpetrators are African-American doesn't exempt them from hate crime charges. It shows that even racial minorities can be charged with hate crimes, especially when they make an issue of the victim's race. Was the victim chosen solely because of his race or did the fact that he has developmental issues play into why he was kidnapped? Either way, it looks like a hate crime to everyone but the most cynical defense lawyer.
Fortunately, prosecutors in Chicago recognize a hate crime when they see one and have charged the four accordingly.