Facebook Beating Started as Pretend Fight

4 suspects are in court Friday
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2017 10:49 AM CST
Facebook Beating Started as Pretend Fight
These booking photos provided by the Chicago Police Department show, from left, Tesfaye Cooper, Brittany Covington, Tanishia Covington and Jordan Hill.   (Chicago Police Department via AP)

The 18-year-old victim of a brutal beating broadcast on Facebook Live thought he was going to a sleepover. That's what his parents thought, too, when they dropped him off at a McDonald's in the Chicago suburbs on New Year's Eve to meet up with 18-year-old Jordan Hill, who had been a classmate. The victim and Hill drove around together (in what police say was a van stolen by Hill) visiting friends for two days, with the victim sleeping in the van. On Tuesday, they ended up at a Chicago apartment where sisters Brittany and Tanishia Covington, ages 18 and 24, lived. What would ultimately turn into the shocking beating, broadcast live for 28 minutes and viewed millions of times on social media, started as a "play fight" between the victim and Hill, the Chicago Tribune reports. It escalated, and police say the Covington sisters got angry and tied the victim up.

A downstairs neighbor heard noises and threatened to call police; two of the suspects left to allegedly kick down that neighbor's door, allowing the victim to escape, the AP reports. Hill, the Covington sisters, and 18-year-old Tesfaye Cooper were all charged with a hate crime due to racial slurs and comments about the victim's disability they were allegedly heard making on the video. A family spokesperson says the victim has had "profound emotional and physical disabilities throughout his life," and the missing persons report notes that he "does not like telling his parents who he's with" (his mother knew only Jordan Hill's first name, not his last). The suspects, who also face kidnapping, battery, and other charges, are in court Friday. (More hate crime stories.)

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