Nearly $160,000 raised for victim of Facebook Live attack

CHICAGO — Nearly $160,000 has been donated to the family of a mentally disabled teenager who was shown bound and tortured in a Facebook Live video last week.

Other people across the country have sent gifts and cards to a P.O. box set up by the victim’s sister in Cary, according to the family’s attorney.

“It has been heartwarming for the family to remember, at least, there’s some niceness out there,” said Neal Strom. “Because what’s happened is over the top insane.”

Four people can be seen on the video cutting the 18-year-old man’s scalp with a knife, punching and kicking him and laughing as they repeatedly forced his head into a toilet while yelling obscenities about Donald Trump and “white people.” Hate crimes charges have been filed against all four.

As of Tuesday morning, about 5,000 people donated more than $157,000 to a GoFundMe campaign. The goal had been $10,000.

People from all 50 states have donated on the site, which was established last week by Reddit user Razor Sheldon. A company representative said GoFundMe will make sure the funds reach the 18-year-old’s family.

Several groups have reached out to the victim since news of the incident broke Wednesday, including a group of police officers from Buffalo, N.Y., Strom said.

People have offered to send gifts, T-shirts and free resources “for his emotional well-being,” the attorney said.

Strom said he is working with the family to manage the proceeds from the GoFundMe campaign, and is meeting with mental health experts to properly handle any post-traumatic stress.

“Every expert has advised me to tell the family to have as quick an intervention as possible because PTSD is something that, if it in fact manifests itself, needs to be detected early,” Strom said. “No one should assume but it’s something that’s a real possibility. And at least you have to intervene and get into someone’s head to try to figure it out.”

Charged in the attack were Jordan Hill, 18, of Carpentersville; Tesfaye Cooper, 18, of Chicago; and sisters Brittany Covington, 18, and Tanishia Covington, 24, who lived in an apartment in the 3300 block of West Lexington Street where the assault allegedly took place.

Police said all four have given statements admitting to their roles in the alleged attack.

Tribune News Service
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