Judge Refuses to Release 4 Accused in Chicago Beating

She says their 'terrible actions' make them a danger
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 7, 2017 8:24 AM CST
Judge Refuses to Release 4 Accused in Chicago Beating
Family members of Brittany Covington and Tanishia Covington, left, and right, leave the Leighton Criminal Court Building Friday, Dec. 6, 2016 in Chicago.   (Ashlee Rezin)

A Chicago judge has refused to allow four black people caught on cellphone footage taunting and beating a mentally disabled white man to post bail and leave jail, saying they are accused of such "terrible actions" that they are a danger to society. "Where was your sense of decency?" Cook County Circuit Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil asked them on Friday during their first court appearance, sounding baffled that the suspects could be charged with such cruelty toward the 18-year-old victim, the AP reports. The beating was captured on cellphone video by one of the assailants and has since been viewed millions of times on social media. The graphic footage shows the suspects taunting the victim with profanities against white people and President-elect Donald Trump.

All four suspects—Jordan Hill and Tesfaye Cooper, both 18, and sisters Tanishia and Brittany Covington, ages 18 and 24—have experienced previous brushes with the law. Prosecutors offered new details of the assault in Friday's hearing, explaining that one of the suspects demanded $300 from the mother of the victim, who is schizophrenic and has attention-deficit disorder. A prosecutor told the judge that the suspects forced the victim to drink toilet water and then allegedly stuffed a sock into his mouth and taped it shut as they bound his hands with a belt. The four are charged with two counts of committing a hate crime—one because of the victim's race and the other because of his mental disabilities. (The victim and his parents thought he was going to a sleepover with Hill, a former classmate.)

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