Brittany Covington, 19, filmed herself and three of her African American friends while they tortured a disabled white teenager and broadcast the video live on Facebook.
Despite pleading guilty to a hate crime, aggravated battery and intimidation, Cook County Circuit Judge William Hooks only handed down a light probation order, The Chicago Tribune reported.
In exchange for pleading guilty to committing a hate crime, aggravated battery and intimidation, prosecutors had dropped a kidnapping charge and other serious charges.
“As part of a plea deal, prosecutors dropped additional charges, including kidnapping,” the daily noted.
Calling the incident “horrific”, Cook County Circuit Judge William Hooks banned Covington from social media for the next four years, prohibited her from contact with two of her co-defendants and ordered 200 hours of community service.
The defendent in a blue jail uniform, stood motionlessly with her hands clasped behind her back. She had entered her plea after an 18-year-old disabled white man were taunted with profanities against whites and President Trump.
Covington had narrated the video of her and three others torturing the autistic teen.
The victim disappeared in January. His family started receiving text messages from him claiming he was being held hostage.
The African Americans had taken the victim hostage at a McDonald’s in a stolen van. The victim knew one of his hostage takers other from high school, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The two reportedly drove around for three days. He was finally taken to an apartment and tortured.
A neighbour had threatened to call police, which resulted in the four black suspects raiding her apartment and stealing her property, police said. The teen hostage was able to escape during that time.
Police officers found the victim in a terrible state with torn clothing a block away from the apartment.
Hooks told Covington that a prison sentence might not have been ideal. “I’m not sure if I did that you’d be coming out any better,” the judge told her.
Judge Hooks expressed hope that the strict terms of probation would result in a more productive path in life, but he warned that she would face prison time if she violated any of the restrictions.
“Do not mess this up,” Hooks told Covington.