GoFundMe Page Raises Nearly $160,000 for Family of Chicago Teen Bound and Tortured in Facebook Live Video
A GoFundMe page has raised nearly $160,000 for the family of the teen with special needs who was allegedly kidnapped, beaten and tortured on a Facebook Live video on Jan. 3.
The page, which was started by Reddit user Razor Shelden, was authenticated to PEOPLE by Neal Strom, the attorney for the 18-year-old’s family, who says his clients appreciate the support and are working together to help their loved one.
“It’s been overwhelming for them,” Strom says. “What happened was horrific, beyond imagination, but [they] just want to heal.”
On Jan. 6, four suspects were arrested for the alleged incident on Chicago’s West Side, which was filmed on Facebook Live and uploaded to YouTube.
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The video allegedly shows the alleged victim, who is white, tied up with his mouth covered while four people, who are black, are seen kicking and punching him before eventually cutting his forehead with a knife. They can be heard laughing and saying, “[Expletive] Donald Trump” and “[Expletive] white people.”
Jordan Hill, 18, Tesfaye Cooper, 18, Brittany Covington, 18, and Tanishia Covington, 24, all face felony charges including aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
All four have allegedly given statements to police admitting their roles in the attack, according to the Los Angeles Times.
During a court appearance on Friday, a Chicago judge denied bail for all four suspects. It is unclear at this time whether the suspects have entered pleas or have been appointed attorneys.
According to Strom, multiple groups have reached out to the special needs teen’s family to show support and offer resources.
“Every day [they’re] getting an outpouring of all kinds of support from people that want to do something for them,” he tells PEOPLE, adding that he is working for the family pro-bono and feels “privileged” to have their trust.
Strom is trying to get professional help for the alleged victim and fears he might suffer post traumatic stress from the incident.
“The family is huddled around him morning, noon and night, but he needs help,” he says.
For now, while medical resources and experts reach out to Strom, the family is disregarding the controversy surrounding the attack.
“We’ve chosen not to even touch [the racist angle], we’re not interested in that, we don’t see it that way,” Strom tells PEOPLE. “It’s an unfortunate thing between people.”
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The family, who lives in the Chicago suburbs, have asked for their privacy.
“We’re still just trying to get our heads together,” the 18-year-old alleged victim’s brother, Jason Nagel, 32, told PEOPLE last week. “He’s doing as well as he can. He was with us all last night he’s with my mom now. We’re just trying to be there for him.”
“We’re so grateful for all the prayers and efforts that led to the safe return of our brother,” the teen’s brother-in-law David Boyd said last week, according to NBC 5 News. “We’re fully aware of the charges being brought against the offenders. At this time we ask for continued prayers for all those involved and for our family’s privacy as we cope and heal.”
The outlet also spoke to the teen’s grandmother, Sally Sacksteder, who said, “I will not look at the video. I do not want to see it. I don’t want to watch him suffer. I know he did.”
via PEOPLE.com http://people.com
January 11, 2017 at 01:38PM