A mentally disabled man, who was tortured and beaten on a Facebook Live video Tuesday, has been released to his family and appears to be healing, Chicago police told International Business Times Thursday.
“Physically, he’s okay,” Chicago officer Felicia Jones said. She said doctors were working closely with the victim. Police were also in contact with the disabled man, who was believed to be held hostage Tuesday afternoon by four African-American teens.
The teens allegedly tortured the mentally disabled man in a 29-minute Facebook Live video that was later deleted. In the video, it appears the crying victim has tape covering his mouth. One of the suspects grabs him at one point as “"f--k Donald Trump" and "f--k white people" are chanted in the background.
On Tuesday at around 5:30 p.m., officers arrived at the Chicago’s Homan Square neighborhood, where they found the “disoriented” man walking not too far from the area. Police “discovered signs of a struggle and damage to the property and were able to link this evidence to the disoriented male,” the department said in a statement.
The victim, who was reported missing by his parents, was not a Chicago resident, but instead is from a neighboring suburb. The victim, who was hospitalized for his injuries, was said to be traumatized by Tuesday's incident. His name was not made public.
"It's quite a possibility that it is a kidnapping,” Commander Kevin Duffin said during a press conference Wednesday.
At the press conference, Duffin noted that the 18-year-old victim goes to school with one of the suspects. Studies show that almost one out of every four students report being bullied during the school year, according to National Center for Educational Statistics, 2015. Students with disabilities or special education needs are twice as likely to be identified as bullied targets and as bullies when compared to peers without disabilities, according to a 2010 report from a team of special education and psychology professors.
In the Chicago incident, police were trying to determine whether the act was a hate crime. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said investigators believe the man was targeted because he had special needs, not because he was white. However, police and prosecutors were still considering hate crime charges because of what was said on the video and because of the victim's disabilities, he said.
The suspects — two males and two females — were arrested on suspicion of kidnapping, and abusing and torturing the man. Their names were not made public.