Prosecutors are charging seven teenagers with the brutal beating of a 17-year-old high school senior in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood, which was recorded and posted on YouTube and went viral almost instantly, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday. There will be another hearing set for Tuesday.
One of the youths is being charged as an adult and held on $100,000 bail for his role in the beating; the six others, including the 16-year-old girl who recorded the attack, are being charged as juveniles. Comments on the video identified the attackers, who allegedly took the boy’s wallet and $180 in cash.
Prosecutors say that on Sunday, Raymond Palomino, 17, and the others (who are unnamed because they are considered minors) convinced the girl to lure the victim into the alley where they jumped him and began punching, kicking, and body slamming him, all while yelling the ‘N’ word. They also repeatedly said they were robbing him. The boy, who didn’t fight back at all, tried to plead his way out of the predicament, but the group continued pummeling him. After a few minutes he was able to break away and run down an alley. The victim was treated for a busted lip, bruises and cuts.
Although the racial epithets can clearly be heard in the video, Chicago police say the attack was not racially motivated. The victim and most of his alleged attackers, with the exception of Palomino, are Asian-American. The attack, police say, stems from an October fight between the youths.
All of the teens are facing charges of robbery and aggravated battery in Cook County Criminal Court. When the video was posted online, viewers instantly recognized Palomino and told his father, Michael, who has worked as a Cook County sheriff’s deputy for the past 30 years. When he found out, he turned his son in.
“Being in law enforcement, I just couldn’t put my blinders on and not do anything after I saw what I saw,” Palomino told the Chicago Sun-Times. But he also defended Raymond, saying that he was not the initiator and doesn’t appear in the video until several minutes in. However, he does feel his son needs to be punished. “What he did was wrong, but he was in it with the rest of them. He wasn’t the initiator.”
The attack comes more than two years after another videotaped beating on Chicago’s South Side that went viral. In this one, 16-year-old Derrion Albert was killed when another youth struck him with a rail tie after he accidentally wandered into the middle of a fight between teenagers.