Students, UPD share thoughts on viral video

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By Mallory Kutnick

Campus Reporter | @DEN_News

Eastern remains calm in the wake of last Tuesday’s viral hate crime from Chicago, University Police Chief Kent Martin said Monday.

Streaming live on Facebook, four young black adults attacked and tortured an 18-year-old white student with special needs who had been missing for three days. For 28 minutes, the attackers recorded themselves beating the bound and gagged man, cutting off part of his scalp and forcing him to drink water from a toilet, shouting profanities against white people and President-elect Donald Trump.

“I haven’t seen anything to cause me to believe that something like that is imminent here,” Martin said.

Promoted to chief in August, Martin has since put an emphasis on community outreach, such as chats with the UPD over coffee and pizza last semester, which he intends to continue.

“We try to keep these things from happening by getting out and establishing relationships,” Martin said, stressing the importance of getting to know the student body as more than traffic tickets and mugshots. “We want to try to see things from all perspectives, and we also want to try to educate people so they can see things from our perspective.”

Though the video was widely referred to as the “#BLMKidnapping” on Twitter, a reference to the “Black Lives Matter” movement, Chicago police have said the movement has no link to the crime.

Gabby Going, a junior psychology major from Chicago, said most, if not all, of the racial tension she observes resides on social media.

“I haven’t personally felt any racial tension, which is something that I do love about Eastern,” Going said. “I do feel that Eastern is diverse in the aspects of how many different (registered student organizations) we have… They don’t exclude anyone based on race.”

The only racial tension Kaylan Moore, a sophomore family and consumer sciences major, noticed were messages written in chalk on campus following the election.

“Everyone was writing positive thoughts on the sidewalks and stairs, and then people decided to mark it out and say racial things like ‘build the wall’ and things like that,” she said.

Moore claimed to have seen a condensed version of the viral video, bringing into question the profanities the attackers uttered, none of which she had heard in the video she watched.

“Personally, I think people like to throw the race card a lot,” Moore said. “I don’t necessarily believe it’s a hate crime.”

Isaiah Carter, a biological sciences major, said he did not experience tension, either.

Carter contrasted the aftermath of the kidnapping with instances of police brutality, most notably the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August 2014. These incidents, Carter noted, became more viral.

“Everybody realized there are just stupid people in the world,” said Carter.

Carter said he thought the kidnapping was wrong.

“I hope now they get the fullest extent of the law thrown at them, especially when you see that they live broadcasted it…” Carter said. “This was just stupidity.”

Mallory Kutnick can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]