James Lakin | CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
Last year, our the world was captivated and disgusted by the abhorrent story of a disabled boy who was kidnapped and tortured by 4 Chicago teenagers over Facebook Live, taunting him with racial slurs while he was held captive.Today, one of these teens, Brittany Covington, will receive no prison time after pleading guilty. Why — according to what Judge William Hooks told the plaintiff, it’s because, “I’m not sure you’d come out any better.” So instead, Judge Hooks sentenced Covington to 200 hours of community service and probation, barring her from any contact with any of the other perpetrators and suspending her social media activity for 4 years.
In exchange for her pleading guilty to aggravated battery and intimidation, Cook County prosecutors have agreed to drop all additional charges, including kidnapping. Which many are deeming “to lenient” because of the sheer callousness of the hate crime.It was perpetuated over Facebook Live, in which beating and verbal harassment of the Chicago boy who is disabled were chronicled. The teens in question made several racially and politically motivated slurs, with comments including “f–k Donald Trump” and “f–k white people”.
The charges of the other teens are pending.
A flood of more than 20,000 comments appeared on the right-wing site, Breitbart, with one user remarking, “This woman should feel the weight of the responsibility of both. If we no longer expect or demand decency from our citizens we will most certainly het our expectation granted.”Seemingly overnight the case that Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson opined on, saying in part, “It’s sickening. It makes you wonder what would make individuals treat somebody like that. I’ve been a cop for 28 years, and I’ve seen things you shouldn’t see in a lifetime. It still amazes me how you still see things you just shouldn’t. So I’m not going to say it shocked me, but it was sickening,” has been rekindled.
People are very upset, saying that if the roles of the races were switched that the outcome would be similar to the outcome when judges ruled on the Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin cases, with millions joining together in protest against racism. However, this case has gained a lot of traction among the far-right, as seen in the Breitbart post above.
Moreover, Judge Hooks has expressed a long history of lenient sentences and controversial trials. In one case, 2 1/2 pounds of cocaine were uncovered during a traffic stop for failing a right turn by two veteran veteran narcotics officers.Normally in such a case – a case where there is a “smoking gun” in the hands of a suspect – the judge rules guilty. However, in an unusual diversion from precedent in such cases, Judge Hooks sided with the defendants, agreeing with their lawyer’s claim that officers from narcotics abandoned post for a traffic stop.Albeit, he is a highly acclaimed judge, with his description on the Muslim Bar Association of Chicago detailing, “Judge William H. Hooks, a retired Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel with experience that spans more than a quarter century and includes work as an intelligence officer, law school adjunct professor, prosecutor, judge advocate, civil litigator, Cook County Special State’s Attorney, and Criminal Defense Counsel, has a reputation as one of Chicago’s toughest lawyers. Hooks has defended persons and/or companies facing grand jury investigations, felonies and misdemeanors in the state and federal courts involving a myriad of charges ranging from street crimes, to a full array of white collar, blue collar and no collar matters.”However, to many this does not distract from his sentencing history that is too lenient, especially with regards to his most recent ruling. Overall, it seems people are looking for justice and accountability where they fail to see it, but all they can do is express their opinions now.