Don Lemon Says That Chicago Hate Crime Suspects ‘Had Bad Home Training' [Video]

Robert Jonathan

CNN anchor Don Lemon seemed unwilling to describe the actions of the Chicago hate crime suspects as evil, instead attributing their behavior to "bad home training."

Lemon's comments during a CNN panel discussion Wednesday night came before Chicago authorities officially designated the alleged kidnapping/torture incident streamed on Facebook as a hate crime. During the same CNN discussion, a former Bernie Sanders staffer denied that it was a hate crime at all

Today, authorities charged the four African-American suspects, three teenagers and a woman in her 20s, with aggravated kidnapping, hate crime, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and residential burglary, among other charges, ABC News reported. The victim is a white teen reportedly with special needs.

The suspects are due in court on Friday.

When panelist Matt Lewis described the incident as evil, Don Lemon provided an alternate explanation, which created a lot of buzz on social media.

"I don't think it's evil. I think these are young people and I think they have bad home training. And I say, 'Who's raising these young people?' I have no idea who's raising these young people, because no one I know on earth who is 17 years old or 70 years old would ever think of treating another person like that. It is inhumane. And you wonder, at 18 years old, where's your parent? Where's your guardian?"

At the beginning of the 10-minute discussion, Lemon asked former Bernie Sanders press secretary and current Democratic strategist Symone Sanders (no relation) how the incident would not qualify as a hate crime -- again, this was before the official designation of same -- in that the suspects were saying "f*** white people" and "f*** Donald Trump" on the video.

While properly describing the incident as sickening, Sanders -- who is evidently also a CNN political commentator -- seemed to be claiming that it was a politically motivated crime instead.

"We cannot callously go about classifying things as a hate crime. Motive here matters. So, was this for hate of Donald Trump…or was this for pure hate of white people? That matters, because if we start going around, and anytime someone says something or does something really egregious or really bad and sickening in sense, in connection with the president-elect, or Donald Trump or even President Obama for that matter, because of their political leanings, that is slippery territory. That is not a hate crime. Hate crimes are because of a person's racial ethnicity, their religion, their gender, a disability. It isn't your political leanings, because someone doesn't like your political leanings, and they do something bad to you; that is not a hate crime."

"These young people probably never watch the news; they probably have no idea really who Donald Trump is…if they don't understand the ramifications of tying someone up and beating them, and putting it on Facebook Live, then they certainly don't understand the ramifications of a presidential election."

Symone Sanders has made provocative statements on TV before. For example, "Sanders has previously mocked a victim of mob violence who was beaten after the presidential election while the attackers shouted, 'You voted for Trump,'" the Washington Free Beacon recalled about another racially charged crime that occurred in Chicago.

Given today's hate crime charges against the Chicago suspects, watch this space for an update in the event that Don Lemon and/or his other CNN panelists during tonight's broadcast might seek to clarify their statements.

Update: In the CNN video clip below, Symone Sanders admits that the Chicago kidnapping/torture was a hate crime upon being questioned by Anderson Cooper.