CHICAGO — The victim of a racially-charged attack live-streamed on Facebook is recovering, and his family expressed "disbelief" Thursday that such events could even happen.
The family spoke out hours after the four alleged attackers were charged with hate crime, aggravated kidnapping and other offenses, and shared their gratitude to police officers for investigating when they came across the victim freezing cold, bloodied as he hobbled down a dark West Side street alone.
"We're trying to stick together as a family, and we appreciate all the support from everyone," said David Boyd, the victim's brother-in-law.
As he recovers, the victim is "doing as well as he could be at this time," his family said Thursday evening.
The family knows about the charges filed against the four alleged assailants and watched the video of the attack, the victim's brother-in-law said.
"We're just happy he's home," said another family member, who said she felt utter "disbelief" when watching video of the attack.
When officers found the man Tuesday in the 3400 block of West Lexington Street, he had just escaped after being kidnapped, bound and tortured for hours in a horrific, racially-charged attack live-streamed on Facebook for all his abusers’ friends to see.
It started, police said, as two former classmates hanging out for days starting on New Year's Eve. But after days together, a playfight between the victim and his friend escalated into the very real abuse shown online. Three others joined in, including two sisters who lived in the apartment where it happened, police said.
The four people allegedly doling out the abuse on the video — Jordan Hall, 18; Tesfaye Cooper, 18; and sisters Brittany Covington, 18, Tanishia Covington, 24 — have been charged with hate crime, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated unlawful restraint, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, robbery, possessing a stolen car and residential burglary, according to a news release from the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.
Police say the suspects, all black, hurled racial slurs at their white victim, leading to the hate crime charges.
The case has grabbed national attention, and even drew a rebuke from The White House.
In an interview with CBS2, President Obama called the abuse "despicable." His press secretary, Josh Ernest, said it showed "a level of depravity that is an outrage to a lot of Americans."
But, Obama added, “I think the overall trajectory of race relations in this country is actually very positive."
"It doesn’t mean that all racial problems have gone away. It means that we have the capacity to get better,” said Obama.
A GoFundMe campaign to help the victim has raised more than $15,400 since it was launched early Thursday.
Though the video shows people saying "f--- Donald Trump" and "f--- white people," police said they don't think the attack was politically motivated.
Some of the comments could be chalked up to mere "stupidity," Supt. Johnson said.
"I really can't say what's in the mind of four individuals that would do something as sickening as this," Johnson said. "But I can't connect what these folks did" with Trump's comments about Chicago violence.
"It's people just ranting about something they think might make a headline."
The four are scheduled to appear in bond court on Friday, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here.