CHICAGO — Cell phone footage showing a group of teens viciously kicking and striking a 16-year-old honors student with splintered railroad ties has ramped up pressure on Chicago officials to address chronic violence that has led to dozens of deaths of city teens each year.
The graphic video of the afternoon melee emerged on local news stations over the weekend, showing the fatal beating of Derrion Albert, a sophomore honor roll student at Christian Fenger Academy High School. His death was the latest addition to a rising toll: More than 30 students were killed last school year, and the city could exceed that number this year.
Prosecutors charged four teenagers Monday with fatally beating Albert, who was walking to a bus stop when he got caught up in the mob street fighting, authorities said.
The violence stemmed from a shooting early Thursday morning involving two groups of students from different neighborhoods, said Tandra Simonton, a spokeswoman for the Cook County prosecutor’s office. When school ended, members of the groups began fighting near the Agape Community Center.
During the attack, captured in part on a bystander’s cell phone video, Albert is struck on the head by one of several young men wielding wooden planks. After he falls to the ground and appears to try to get up, he is struck again and then kicked. Simonton said Albert was a bystander and not part of either group.
Chicago police said they were looking for at least three more suspects, but would not discuss a possible motive for the attack.
Simonton said Albert was knocked unconscious when Carson struck him in the head with a board and a second person punched him in the face. Albert regained consciousness and was trying to get up when he was attacked a second time by five people, struck in the head with a board by Riley and stomped in the head by Shannon, Simonton said.
Fenger students said Albert’s death intensified tensions at the school, with arguments about him breaking out in hallways all day Monday. Several blocks away, a memorial erected on the spot where he was beaten was burned down. Police also increased patrols before and after school and in the neighborhood.
“They’re still trying to retaliate,” said sophomore Toni Gardner, 15. She did not elaborate.
For Chicago, a sharp rise in violent student deaths during the past three school years — most from shootings off school property — have been a tragedy and an embarrassment.
Before 2006, an average of 10-15 students were fatally shot each year. That climbed to 24 fatal shootings in the 2006-07 school year, 23 deaths and 211 shootings in the 2007-08 school year and 34 deaths and 290 shootings last school year.
This month, the city announced a $30 million project that targets 1,200 high school pupils identified as most at risk to become victims of gun violence, giving them full-time mentors and part-time jobs to keep them off the streets. Some money also will pay for more security guards and to provide safe passage for students forced to travel through areas with active street gangs.
Albert’s family attended a news conference Monday with school district leaders and police, but did not speak. They wore T-shirts with a picture of him in a cap and gown, with the words, “Gone too soon, too young.”
September 30th, 2009 at 9:03 PM
That beating was beyond shameful. When I saw it I literally hung my head.
Ive been on the internet a long time & seen many videos & Ive have traveled seeing many things. But that video of that beating was the most barbaric act committed by mankind Ive ever seen in my entire life. It was very difficult to watch to the very end.
September 30th, 2009 at 9:56 PM
Shameful and heart wrenching for all kinds of reasons.
September 30th, 2009 at 8:18 AM
[…] or too lazy to get it right and A whole different debate and Quote of the Day – Richard Cohen and Van Jones – only white suburban kids are mass murderers; black kids just kill in packs and Day after Disaster on the History Channel – frightening and enlightening and In a league of […]
September 29th, 2009 at 6:15 PM
All I can say is that my thoughts and prayers are with Albert’s family. It should not have happened.
September 29th, 2009 at 12:28 PM
These young men are all animals beyond rehabilitation. The savagery and brutality they exhibited were horrific. One ofhte best things we can do for our young people is to send them to teh army for discipline. These young kids are out of control.
September 29th, 2009 at 6:31 PM
I like your idea. The courts used to do that all the time. Let the army take care of ’em and straighten them up. But now, the army is more selective. They don’t want the riff-raff. So what’s the solution? When they go to jail they just learn more ways to be heathens. Someone smarter than I am surely can come up with something. Oh, wait, they are spending another 30 million. THAT’S going to take care of the problem. Silly me.
September 30th, 2009 at 9:23 PM
The Army would not have them not even in combat. Because soldiers bond w/each other because they MUST depend on each to survive & to accomplish a mission.
Those animals that killed that boy are the type who will eat their own. They have no bond. They turn on each other. They are just here on planet earth.
September 29th, 2009 at 11:09 AM
So, how’s that War On Poverty thing going?
September 29th, 2009 at 11:24 AM
They are throwing $30million more at it… that’s how it’s going.
Throwing more money at it has been a proven solution… right?
September 29th, 2009 at 11:01 AM
This will continue to happen if the LEO’s dont step up and do the right thing and increase the patrols in these areas. Who cares if its black on black or white on yellow crime, PUNISH ALL OFFENDERS!!!!
September 29th, 2009 at 10:05 AM
Reminds me of Mogadishu,.the anger, hatred,and saddly the killing. I am white,..but they are animals,..pray for his family. I hate to say this,..but where is Obama now,..oh it was only blacks invovled,..so sad. If it were whites attacking the kid,..he would say something. I am not prejudice,…but think it still lingers everywhere,..even the White House.
September 29th, 2009 at 10:37 AM
You’re right. There’s no news in black on black (in this case, on black on black on black) crime. And that’s wrong. It shouldn’t matter what color this kid was or what color the gang of murderers were. It’s still the gang murder of a teenage boy. Period. And race shouldn’t matter. It’s still heartbreaking for this young boy and his family, regardless of his color.
Minorities want to be judged by the content of their character (and I believe that is proper and right in my heart) but only when it’s to their advantage to do so. When it’s advantageous to cry RACISM, they pull that card in a heartbeat!
September 29th, 2009 at 1:19 PM
People, in general, want to be judged by the content of their character; not just minority groups. Furthermore, all people deserve the respect of being judged by their character. This video is not representative of the content of the character of minorities. Therefore, it makes one wonder why you bring that point up.
September 29th, 2009 at 10:50 AM
This violence is an ongoing issue, Obama is doing what he was elected to do. People with certain agendas would like to make this an issue of race rather than an issue of BAD PARENTING and LACK of COMPASSION for humanity. Its like we were watching footage from a third world country. We need to fight the TERRORISM at home before we try to fight it anywhere else. All GANGS are TERRORISTS, get rid of them!! This was a problem WAY before Obama and will continue to be a problem after, its just not something the politicians want to get involved in.
September 29th, 2009 at 11:22 AM
You’re right, it is going to be an ongoing problem. And it is bad or lack of parenting.
But you might want to remind Obama to stay out of police matters like accusing cops of “acting stupidly,” especially when he has no facts to base that stupid comment on. 😉
September 30th, 2009 at 9:29 PM
Obama, Sharpton & the sort are not gonna do a darn thing to help improve the situation. They are race pimping.
They dont want those blacks to pull out of the ghettos. If most blacks escaped from that rat infested dump (I saw on Beck), then most blacks would not be in the democrat party. The idea is that the democrat party can not give welfare to those who will do for themselves. So the party got to keep those blacks all bunched up like sardines in a can.
September 30th, 2009 at 10:13 PM
Arlene, I like how you think. You understand what so many don’t: the liberals are keeping the poor and the unfortunate down on purpose.
They are the new plantation owners.
They are the racists.
October 7th, 2009 at 5:50 AM
Arlenearmy , that is the most simple minded comment I’ heard. Let’s talk about Timothy Mc Veigh and the Jeffery Dahamers of the world. What kind of person abducts a child keeps that child 18 years sexually abusing her and he has children with her. The wife permits. Do I need to go any farther.
September 29th, 2009 at 9:58 AM
I agree with you, most of these kids are not rehab material.
What I find such a contrast to this story is that white kid who was beat up on the school bus. That’s not a hate crime? That’s not a racial crime?
You can bet your life that had it been a black kid attacked by 4 whites on that bus, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would be there, raging and whipping up the community, in a heartbeat!
September 29th, 2009 at 10:52 AM
A crime is a crime and the criminals should be punished!!!! All crimes that cause harm to others are hate driven IMO!!!
September 29th, 2009 at 8:22 AM
I don’t care how old these kids are they all deserve to be locked up for the rest of their lives with no parole. Kids like these do not rehabilitate. They have a violent streak and that will never change. I will gladly pay extra taxes to build more prisons if I knew we would lock these thugs up for life.
September 30th, 2009 at 9:18 PM
Prison? I hate to say this, but prison is a place you keep humans. Then we got to feed them, provide medical care & then some ACLU psychiatrist will come along to say that its somebody else fault. It was pure savagery. They ravaged that poor boy like something out of this world that you would see in a science fiction flick.
It was like wild rabid animals. Something that should never be unleashed into the general public.
They are ruined … damaged beyond repair.
I say cut off all funding to that neighborhood. Put up a tall border fence & only open it to allow Jessee Jackson & Sharpton to do routine visits. Or send them to Rwanda. But for God sake I do not want them out here w/the rest of civilized mankind.