When news broke that a special-needs teen had been kidnapped and tortured for two days by four assailants in Chicago, many immediately called it a hate crime. The victim is white. His attackers are African-American. Pundits on the right asked openly just how long it would take for someone on the left to dismiss the hate aspect of this horrific crime and blame the whole incident on Trump. Now we know.
[Scroll Down for Video]
It was only a matter of hours. CNN held a panel discussion about the incident. Panelist Symone Sanders, not stranger to racist controversy, was dismissive of the whole incident, and shifted blame onto the campaign rhetoric of our President-elect.
A bit of background. The man’s ordeal gained notoriety after part of the incident was broadcast on Facebook Live. His kidnappers beat him. They cut his forehead. They made him drink water from the toilet, and made him say things like “f*** Donald Trump” and “f*** white people.”
Yet Sanders sees something larger at work. “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,” Sanders told the panel hosted by CNN’s Don Lemon. “So, that affects people on both sides.”
“We’ve talked about white nationalists and white supremacists and the KKK, but there also, when this inflammatory rhetoric is out there, when someone is repeatedly telling you that your community is the worst of the worst, it brings out the worst of the worst in people,” she noted.
Lemon seemed taken back by the comment and questioned how informed these four teens might be. He suggested that they may “never watch the news.”
Sanders wasn’t buying it. “Y’all have to give young people more credit than that [sic] is,” she said. “Everybody knows who Donald Trump is.”
Sanders doesn’t see this as a hate crime, at all. “Was this for hate for Donald Trump, because of the things he said? Or, was this for pure hate of white people, because that matters?” She asked.
“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.”
The Chicago Police have not yet labeled this a hate crime, even though the precedent for doing so is clear. Chicago Police Department Commander Kevin Duffin told reporters, “Kids make stupid decisions — I shouldn’t call them kids, they’re legally adults. But they’re young adults and they make stupid decisions.”
Chicago defines the commission of a hate crime by these standards:
“A person commits hate crime when, by reason of the actual or perceived race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or national origin of another individual or group of individuals, regardless of the existence of any other motivating factor or factors, he commits assault, battery, aggravated assault.”