A white man with special needs was kidnapped by a group of 18-year-old African Americans and tortured for at least thirty minutes. Worse yet, the entire thing live streamed on Facebook from one of the attacker’s accounts.
A three minute sample of the video is below, and warning, it is very graphic.
The full version of the video seems to have been removed by YouTube for policy violations.
The attackers frequently say “fuck white people!” and associate their victim with President-elect Donald Trump, saying “fuck Donald Trump.” While Donald Trump is seen to have been elected in part because of an over-performance with white voters, millions of white people did vote for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In addition to verbally berating the man, the teens also kicked him, punched him, cut into his forehead with a knife, and at one point made him drink toilet water. They did this all while he cowered in a corner with a gag in his mouth.
The victim apparently knew at least one of his attackers. Police think that he may have initially gotten into a van with the attackers voluntarily, but are still considering kidnapping charges based on the horrendous events that followed.
One of the suspects in particular, has been identified as a ring-leader.
18-year-old Brittany Herring was brought in on charges and is awaiting a trial date.
And according to a post on her Facebook, it apparently isn’t her first criminal offense, either.
Many people have criticized a police statement by Kevin Duffin however, that condemned the crime but described the crime as “Kids making stupid decisions.”
“Although they are adults, they’re 18. Kids make stupid decisions — I shouldn’t call them kids, they’re legally adults, but they’re young adults and they make stupid decisions.
That certainly will be part of whether or not… we seek a hate crime, to determine whether or not this is sincere or just stupid ranting and raving.”
The video has lit up a firestorm on social media, particularly in conservative circles that feel the organization Black Lives Matter promotes violence at their rallies and demonstrations.
Social media personality Tomi Lahren, in particular, has been harsh with the organization — saying Black Lives Matter is basically the Ku Klux Klan. She weighed in on the topic tonight, contributing to the rise of the hashtag
#BLMkidnapping in reference to the kidnapping:
But while the hashtag might fire up conservatives that are angry at the Black Lives Matter organization, it simply is not an accurate portrayal of the crime that occurred.
The kidnapping was not orchestrated by the Black Lives Matter movement. As far as we know, none of the attackers or accomplices in this attack were in any way affiliated with the BLM movement.
Tying any crime committed by any black person to the BLM movement is not only logistically problematic, but racially problematic as well. Why must an organization for the advancement black civil liberties be personally responsible for every crime committed by black people?
Just remember not all black people act like this #BLMKidnapping story. Hold the folks who commited the crime responsible not a whole race
— Ty (@Tksailor) January 5, 2017
Some have shot back at this argument, saying that Donald Trump and his supporters are often blamed when any hate crimes are committed in his name. However, the circumstances are more than a little different.
When someone attacks someone else while saying something positive about Trump, they are confirming their status as a Trump supporter and his rhetoric being a motivation of their attack. When someone attacks someone, and they just happen to be black, it doesn’t say anything about their affiliations to a specific political group — even if they are saying horrible racist things while they do it.
That’s not to say that those involved should not be charged — perhaps even on hate crime statutes pending the police investigation. But to associate the events with Black Lives Matter is merely politicizing an act of evil, and is yet another sour turn in our national dialogue.
Police currently believe that the crime is more about the victim’s mental health challenge than his race, but are still investigating. The man is still said to be very traumatized and is recovering. It is unclear how long the victim was held by his attackers.