TIME Crime

President Obama Calls Facebook Live Beating of Disabled Teen ‘Despicable’

President Barack Obama makes a statement on Ukraine from the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 18, 2014.
JIM WATSON—AFP/Getty Images President Barack Obama makes a statement on Ukraine from the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 18, 2014.

A mentally disabled Chicago teenager was tied up and beaten on Facebook Live

President Barack Obama on Thursday called the hate crime beating of a mentally disabled white teenager in Chicago “despicable” while discussing his hopes for a future with fewer racial tensions.

In a new interview with CBS 2, Obama said violence stemming from racial tensions has always been a problem but it only now are getting the spotlight because technology allows people to capture incidents on their phones and post videos on social media.

“What we have seen as surfacing, I think, are a lot of problems that have been there a long time,” he said. “Whether it’s tensions between police and communities, whether it’s hate crimes of the despicable sort that has just now recently surfaced on Facebook, I take these things very seriously.”

“The good news is that the next generation that’s coming behind us … have smarter, better, more thoughtful attitudes about race,” 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.”

Four people were charged with hate crimes on Thursday after they were allegedly caught on a Facebook Live video beating a tied-up mentally disabled teenager.

Footage shows the suspects, who are black, repeatedly shouting obscenities about President elect-Donald Trump and about the victim being white. The victim, an 18-year-old man who has not been publicly identified, was forced to drink water out of a toilet and suffered at least one gash to his head after being bound and beaten for up to six hours, police said.

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