The Chicago suspects in the racially charged Facebook Live torture videos never use the phrase “Black Lives Matter.”
So why is the trending Twitter hashtag being used to describe the attack #BLMKidnapping? (Police also aren’t sure the incident is actually a kidnapping, as that angle remains under investigation). The hashtag has been used many thousands of times.
People then created a new purposely misspelled hashtag #blmkiddnaping because they were worried Twitter was stopping it from trending. That hashtag was also trending.
A police spokesman said June 5 that police think the victim was targeted because of his special needs status, not his race, although members of the group use expletives to refer to white people in the videos. The horrific videos show the suspects, who have yet to be named, making the man drink from a toilet, cutting his hair and sweatshirt, punching and kicking him, and using expletives to refer to Donald Trump and white people.
Charges were announced Thursday against Jordan Hill and Tesfaye Cooper, both 18, and two sisters, Brittany Herring (Covington) and Tanishia Covington in connection with the horrific videos, which have gone viral and been viewed by many thousands of people.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said they are charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and residential burglary. They are all also charged with hate crime, a charge police hesitated on committing to Wednesday night. Police had drawn criticism on social media for refusing to outright label the crime as a hate crime during their initial news conference.
The most serious charge, aggravated kidnapping, carries a potential prison sentence of 30 years, with a minimum sentence of six years.
The videos (there are more than one) have sparked a racial conflict online, with some accusing the media of downplaying black-on-white violence, but others charging racism for linking Black Lives Matter to black suspects who didn’t even mention it. Police have also not alleged that BLM – which started as a protest movement against police shootings but some have labeled a hate group – was a motivation for the attack.
The Facebook page of Brittany Herring – who streamed the video on her page – and some of the alleged suspects (Chicago police have yet to release their names) – are now filled with overtly racist comments from strangers upset about the videos.
BBC reported that a far-right site called InfoWars got the hashtag started even though the suspects don’t mention Black Lives Matter in the videos. “It was given an initial boost by the conspiracy-minded right-wing site Infowars.com, and its editor-at-large,” BBC reported.
Alt-right leader Richard Spencer – who led a group that gave the Nazi salute after Trump’s election – has pushed the hashtag on social media, as has a “Pizzagate” conspirator, BBC reported.
Spencer has used the hashtag multiple times.
Some are accusing Twitter of trying to downplay the hashtag.
Brittany Herring, who first streamed the video live on Facebook, doesn’t have much political commentary on her Facebook page. She writes about court dates and her life, but doesn’t seem to have a political activist focus.
On Twitter, some are challenging those who have used the hashtag #BLMKidnapping:
Others believe the media have a double standard:
You can watch the video here:
A man with special needs was tied up and tortured in a Facebook Live video in Chicago, police say. In the video a person can be heard yelling slurs about Donald Trump.Click here to read more
Learn more about the hate crime angle here:
The Chicago torture video contains explicit mentions of race, but Chicago police are stopping short of calling it a hate crime - at least for now.Click here to read more
Read more about this video in Spanish at AhoraMismo.com:
Un video de Facebook Live muestra cómo un hombre es atado y torturado en vivo por el internet.Click here to read more