Drug use believed to be a factor in Chicago Facebook Live hate crime

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CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police say drug use may have played a role in the beating of a mentally disabled white teenager by four black suspects that was broadcast live on Facebook.

The suspects  are scheduled to appear in court Friday. They were charged on Thursday with hate crimes, battery, kidnapping and other charges.

(Top row: Brittany Covington, Tesfaye Cooper; Bottom row: Jordan Hill, Tanishia Covington)

(Top row: Brittany Covington, Tesfaye Cooper; Bottom row: Jordan Hill, Tanishia Covington)

Eighteen-year-olds Brittany Covington, Tesfaye Cooper and Jordan Hill, and 24-year-old Tanishia Covington each face hate crime, kidnapping and battery charges in connection with the attack. All four suspects are black and the victim is white.

Authorities say the hate crime charges resulted from both the suspects’ use of racial slurs and their references to the victim’s disability.

Chicago Police Commander Kevin Duffin says the video shows two suspects smoking cigars that authorities “presume to be blunts.” Duffin says the video shows the two sisters smoking while the victim is tied up, and at the same time racial slurs and references “to his mental capacity starts coming out.”

The slurs include profanities against white people and President-elect Donald Trump.

The victim’s parents reported their 18-year-old son missing on Monday in Streamwood, a Chicago suburb.

The parents said they hadn’t heard from their son since New Year’s Eve, when he said he was going to sleepover at a friend’s house. His mother told police she feared her son hadn’t taken medication for a mental health disorder.

Streamwood police say the parents later “began receiving text messages from persons claiming to be holding him captive.” While investigating the messages, police discovered the Facebook video. Chicago police later reported the man had been located.