US President Barack Obama blasts Chicago live-stream torture of disabled teen

January 6, 2017 8:00 pm

(file photo)

President Barack Obama condemned the torture of a mentally disabled white man by four African Americans, streamed on Facebook Live, as a “despicable” hate crime, while expressing hope for a future with less racial tensions.
In an interview with CBS, Obama rejected the notion that violence stemming from racial tensions had worsened in the US, saying it was now getting more attention because of technology and the widespread use of social media.
“We see visuals of racial tensions, violence and so forth because of smartphones and the Internet … what we have seen as surfacing, I think, are a lot of problems that have been there a long time,” he said. “Whether it’s tensions between police and communities, whether it’s hate crimes of the despicable sort that has just now recently surfaced on Facebook, I take these things very seriously.”
“The good is that the next generation that’s coming behind us … have smarter, better, more thoughtful attitudes about race,” Obama said, adding that the overall trajectory of race relations in the US was “very positive.”
Three African-American teenagers and a woman, 24, are due in court on Friday after they were charged with hate crimes the day before for beating a mentally disabled teenager and streaming the incident online.
Footage shows Jordan Hill, Brittany Covington and Tesfaye Cooper, all 18, and Tanishia Covington repeatedly shouting insults about President elect-Donald Trump and about the victim being white.

Police said the victim, 18, spent up to six hours tied up and tortured on Chicago’s West Side before officers found him wandering the streets. The white teenager was forced to drink water out of a toilet and suffered at least one gash to his head.
Opinion polls show that racial tensions in the US are at their highest level since the 1992 Los Angeles riots that erupted after a jury acquitted four white police officers of the use of excessive force in the infamous arrest and beating of African-American Rodney King, which had been caught on video.
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