BUFFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Hate crime charges have been filed against the suspects involved in a brutal beating in Chicago. The entire incident was streamed online. Police say the video shows four people torturing an 18-year-old man with special needs.
Chicago police say the 18-year-old victim was targeted because he has a mental health challenge. An outreach manager at the Parent Network System of western WNY says that doesn’t come as a surprise, and says that people with disabilities are easy targets for bullying and in this case, a horrific crime.
The disturbing 30 minute video streamed live on Facebook shows an 18-year-old man with special needs tied up, his mouth covered, in the corner of a room. His attackers are seen laughing as they kick, punch, and cut his forehead with a knife.
“It was appalling it broke my heart for the boy and his family, to have to go through that. And the fact that they video streamed it live is disgusting to me,” said Christi Moscato, Parent Network of WNY Outreach Manager.
The video is hard to watch. Moscato says unfortunately, people with disabilities are at a higher risk of horrific incidents like this one. She says they are easy targets because they struggle with reading social cues.
“The lack of making eye contact, they might be a little bit different, they might be a little quirky you know so they kind of stand out in a crowd possibly to somebody who’s looking to do something like this who has hate in their heart,” said Moscato.
Chicago police say the victim was taken from the suburbs and could have been missing from anywhere between 24 and 48 hours.
“He had absolutely no way of defending himself absolutely no way,” said Moscato.
Moscato says the Parent Network of WNY offers free training for families, to prevent our most vulnerable from being bullied. (go to http://www.parentnetworkwny.org for more information)
“I talk to many families who 9 times out of 10 during a training, at least 1 family is brought to tears by just talking about their child’s situation so it’s very common unfortunately,” said Moscato.
Police say the victim knew at least one of his attackers from school and he may have been with the suspects for at least 24 hours. Officers found the victim wandering the streets in crisis Tuesday afternoon and brought him to a hospital.