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There are few things worse than hate for a person to expend their energy and mental wherewithal on. One of those few things is live streaming you and your friends torturing an innocent person while yelling politically and racially charged statements. In what should be held out as an example of just sheer brazen stupidity, four 18-year-old teens have been arrested as a result of a Facebook Live video they posted of themselves torturing another teen.
While it is unclear what the motivation for the torture was, what is clear is that the victim was subjected to an awfully scary situation, was physically restrained, verbally and physically assaulted numerous times, and threatened with death, all while being video recorded.
Because of the young age of the perpetrators, despite the racial and political statements, law enforcement has been hesitant to actually call this a hate crime rather than just kids making stupid mistakes and saying things to get attention. Sadly, at one point during the video, the woman making the video asks why no one is watching her live stream.
What Happened Here?
The facts of this crime are rather disturbing. Video of the crime has been posted to YouTube after Facebook took down the original post (warning: the video is graphic, contains foul language, and disturbing content). The victim is an 18-year-old white male who reportedly suffers from mental health challenges and may have known one of the perpetrators from school.
Law enforcement believe that he was lured into a van before being kidnapped, tied up, and tortured. The video that was posted via Facebook Live was a half-hour long, and showed four African American teens slapping, kicking, hitting, and even cutting the victim.
What Is a Hate Crime?
While not all states actually have hate crime laws, under federal law, acts of violence that are motivated by racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, or other types of directed hatred can be prosecuted by the department of justice as hate crimes. Generally though, random crimes or acts of violence, even when the perpetrator and victim are of different races, genders, or ethnicities, are not hate crimes unless racial animus was the driving factor behind the crime.