TV personality and Navy and Marine Corps veteran Montel Williams took to Facebook on Thursday to condemn the perpetrators behind the Facebook Live torture video broadcasted that was broadcast Wednesday.
Williams said that the discussion of this as a hate crime is a distraction and that the video is “bigger than racism” and “bigger than politics.”
He said in all caps, “THIS IS THE COLD BLOODED TORTURE OF AN INNOCENT HUMAN BEING” and recommended life in prison without parole.
“I’m not interested in whether these kids had a tough life, whether their parents loved them enough. I don’t care,” he wrote.
Life in prison. No parole. I'm not interested in whether these kids had a tough life, whether their parents loved them...Posted by Montel Williams on Thursday, January 5, 2017
Since Williams’ remarks, we’ve learned that the four people arrested for their involvement in the kidnapping, unlawful restraint and battery of a mentally disabled white man have also officially been charged with a hate crime.
Anthony Guglielmi, chief spokesman for the Chicago Police Department, tweeted that the police presented hate crime and kidnapping charges to the state attorney and that the charges were approved.
The victim was a classmate of one of his attackers, police said.
Cook County prosecutors on Thursday identified the perpetrators as Jordan Hill, 18; Brittany Covington, 18; Tesfaye Cooper, 18, and Tanishia Covington, 24
According to The Associated Press, the grandmother of one of the accused said she was confused about her granddaughter's actions and said her granddaughter is "not this person."
“I’m so upset. My head is about to bust open,” Priscilla Covington said. “I don’t know if someone influenced her […] She had her ups and down. [She] was a good person. I’m so confused.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com