Reddit users have raised about $160,000 for the teen abused in a Facebook Live video, according to reports. The video posted last week on Facebook drew anger from community leaders and even caught the attention of President Obama, who called the Live video “despicable,” notes Fox News.
People show care for teen tortured in Facebook Live Video
The fund was raised by a GoFundMe page for the family of the special needs teen who was allegedly kidnapped, tortured and beaten on Jan. 3 in a Facebook Live video. The page was started by Reddit user Razor Shelden and was authenticated to PEOPLE by Neal Strom, who is the attorney for the teen’s family.
Strom says it has been overwhelming for the family. He added that what happened to the 18-year old teen was horrific and beyond imagination, and they just want to heal. Strom said his clients appreciate the support and are working to aid their beloved child. He said the family of his client is working class with modest means, and the money will help the teen with his treatment.
In a statement to The Chicago Sun-Times, Strom said, “My clients are overwhelmed with the warm, kind generosity of perfect strangers. It just came out of the clear blue sky…It shows that there are good people out there after all [the victim] has been through.”
Donations well above the initial target
Shelden told The Washington Post that at first, he set the goal at $5,000 to show the teen that the people in the world cared. Donations, however, surged, and as of Wednesday morning, about 5,000 people from all 50 states had donated.
Four suspects were arrested for the attack, which occurred on Chicago’s West Side. It was filmed on Facebook Live and then uploaded to YouTube on January 6. According to authorities, the victim was tied up for many hours. The video footage shows the assailants taunting the victim with profanities against President-elect Donald Trump and white people. The victim is white, whereas the suspects, two men and two women, are black.
Four suspects – Tanishia Covington, 24; Jordan Hill, 18; Brittany Covington, 18; and Tesfaye Cooper, 18 — are now facing charges of aggravated kidnapping, aggravated unlawful restraint and hate crimes in connection with the attack on the teen. According to The Los Angeles Times, all four suspects have given their statements to police and have admitted their roles in the attack.
The family of the victim has refused to comment on the attack.