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UPDATED 01/18/12 9:48 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — Seven teens – six boys and a girl – have been charged in connection with the brutal beating in the Bridgeport neighborhood this past weekend that went viral on YouTube.
Police credited community cooperation and even cooperation from the parents of the suspects with helping solve the case quickly, saying the video clearly provoked a sense of outrage.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, each of the suspects are charged with felony counts of robbery and aggravated battery in the incident, which happened between 4 p.m. and 4:20 p.m. Sunday behind the James Ward Elementary School in the 2800 block of South Princeton Avenue.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports
All of the suspects are minors, and only one – Raymond Palomino, 17, of the 3500 block of South Hoyne Avenue – has been charged as an adult. The other six were cited as juveniles, so their names are not being released.
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Wednesday afternoon that police were able to make quick arrests in the case due in large part to the fact the suspects videotaped themselves and posted the video on YouTube, prompting a good deal of cooperation from the community, as well as the parents of some of the suspects.
“One of the offenders was brought in by their parents before we even had them identified and in pursuit of them,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy said it was a clear example that such behavior would not be tolerated.
“We got a lot of cooperation from a number of the parents in this case. We’ve got a ton of cooperation from the community,” McCarthy added. “The outrage that everybody has showed as a result of this can be the positive that comes out of it. And the message is really simple. This isn’t able to be tolerated.”
McCarthy said, while he found the fact that the offenders videotaped themselves attacking the victim disturbing, he credited the video with helping bring a swift resolution to the case.
“I think that you could always come out of a negative incident with a positive outcome,” McCarthy said. “Social media, while it can be problematic, is actually helpful. Like I said, it helped us close this case very, very quickly.”
Although the juvenile suspects have not been identified publicly because of their age, several comments posted on the YouTube video have claimed to identify the kids involved, sometimes giving phone numbers or addresses for them. That has police concerned.
“Much of that information is incorrect and what we’re very concerned about is this leading to more events,” McCarthy said. “We’re not going to tolerate that. We will come down very quickly and very swiftly on it.”
A judge Wednesday set bond for Palomino at $100,000. He would need to put up 10 percent, or $10,000, to be released, which CBS 2’S Derrick Blakley reports will not happen anytime soon. Palomino’s father does not have the money, given that seven people live in his home. The boy’s mother is also in jail, attorneys said.
Also charged are two 16-year-old boys — one of them from Arlington Heights — as well as three 15-year-old boys, and a 15-year-old girl.
Contrary to initial reports that the girl shot the video, McCarthy said Wednesday afternoon that it was not a female behind the camera. He said the girl took part in the attack itself.
Asked why the offenders would videotape themselves and then post the video for all to see, McCarthy said, “Good question, I don’t know. Why have they posted video in all these other cases, too? I think it’s all part of the same dynamic where this is what kids do today, which is incredibly, ridiculously stupid”
Police said the attack was an act of retaliation over a previous dispute involving the attackers and the victim last October.
Wentworth Area Detective Division Cmdr. Patricia Walsh said the previous altercation was no more than a typical teenage dispute that turned violent.
“From our investigation, it just basically involved teenage bickering. There’s nothing substantial to the disagreement or the altercation. … It was a physical altercation as a result of teenage disputes,” Walsh said. “This was a group of high school kids who … didn’t know how to manage anger, frustrations. It was just general, ongoing teenage disputes that escalated and escalated to a physical altercation in October and a subsequent altercation this past week.”
The video shows the other teens chasing and surrounding the 17-year-old boy, who is clad in red sweatpants, and relentlessly attacking him. They drag him, only to punch and kick him some more. He was punched and kicked repeatedly in the face.
Palomino is clearly seen in the video. After removing the victim’s gloves, Palomino pounds the boy and whacks him with a shoe.
He tries to grab the victim’s backpack, and later, flips him over and holds him while another suspect kicks him.
Some of the assailants also hit the boy with chunks of ice and choked him. Finally, he lies there helpless as he was beaten.
It went on for 3 minutes and 39 seconds, as an accomplice shot the video.
The boy was eventually able to escape and run away. He was treated for cuts and bruises at Mercy Hospital and Medical Center.
The boy was robbed of his gym shoes, wallet and money, police said. The suspects threw the boy’s wallet in the sewer, prosecutors said at Palomino’s bond hearing Wednesday.
Palomino’s father, Michael Palomino, is a Cook County Sheriff’s Deputy. He said he is distraught over his son’s actions.
“I just feel bad,” Michael Palomino said.
Michael Palomino said he found out Monday through neighbors that his son was involved in the vicious attack.
“I’m upset about what happened, you know, what all this turned out to be,” Michael Palomino said. “You know, it’s really hurting me.”
Michael Palomino, a 30-year veteran sheriff’s deputy, was the one who called police after finding out about his son’s actions.
Raymond didn’t say anything before he left for the Wentworth Area Police Headquarters to face the music, his father said.
But Michael Palomino had an apology.
“I’m sorry for what happened to him, but if there’s anything I can do for them, I’d try and help them as much as I can.”
As Michael Palomino prepares to go to bond court, he knows his son won’t get off easy.
He says he wants his son “to learn what he did was wrong.”
Meanwhile, in response to the attack, the Guardian Angels Safety Patrol is planning a couple self-defense classes in Bridgeport. Guardian Angels leader Miguel Fuentes tells WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya that if you are attacked, you should make as much noise as possible.
While not blaming the victim on Sunday, Fuentes says, “If he would have been yelling, ‘stop’ for three minutes, someone would have been, ‘Oh, wait a minute, there’s something wrong here. Let me either go find out, or let me call 911.’”
The self-defense classes are scheduled for Wednesday night and Saturday at the Louis L. Valentine Boys and Girls Club, 3400 S. Emerald Ave.
Palomino is charged as an adult, and is expected in Central Bond Court (Br. 1) at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse later Wednesday. The juvenile offenders have been turned over to the county Juvenile Detention Center.