The predominant story in the USA over the last twenty four hours that has dominated the headlines was the live streamed torture of a mentally challenged Chicago man by a group of four anti-Trump suspects.
The heinous acts were live streamed on Facebook which resulted in the identification of the suspects.
During the video, the suspects can be heard saying “f**k Donald Trump” and “f**k white people.” Drug use was also present during the live stream.
There has been a lot of talk over the last day about whether the suspects committed a “hate crime,” that is, a crime motivated by a prejudice against race, sexuality, etc.
Traditionally, hate crime laws have been applied when minorities, not white males, are the victims of crimes. There has even been talk by some commentators today that it’s basically not possible to commit a hate crime against a white male.
One CNN commentator said, “I just want to remind folks that we cannot sit here and ignore that, at least for the last year, on very public display, the worst parts of America have been brought from the fringe into the mainstream,” Symone Sanders told a panel hosted by CNN’s Don Lemon. “So, that affects people on both sides… Everybody knows who Donald Trump is.”
“That is not a hate crime,” she added. “Hate crimes are because of a person’s racial ethnicity, their religion, their gender, a disability, it isn’t your political leanings, because someone doesn’t like your political leanings and they do something bad to you, that is not a hate crime.”
However, it would seem that the Chicago Police Department is in disagreement with Sanders. Just a few minutes ago, the Chicago PD tweeted the following post showing mugshots of the four suspects and announcing that they will be charged with hate crimes:
Presumably, the suspects are being charged with state and/or local hate crime ordinances right now. However, federal law also allows for the prosecution of hate crimes so it is conceivable the federal government could get involved in future charges. This could especially be true under a Trump Administration Department of Justice.
It is currently unclear if the quarter is being charged for hate crimes against the victim for his race or because he is mentally challenged.
Here is the video panel where Sanders made her comments on hate crimes: