USA Today is reporting that three of the attackers in a violent video that went viral earlier this week have been arrested. The video, which quickly began trending on Twitter under the hashtag #JusticeForJanise, showed three teenage girls beating up a 15-year-old who allegedly suffers from a mental disability.
One of the three girls was arrested by Chicago police. The other two turned themselves in, with their families around for support.
According to police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, two of the suspects face charges of aggravated battery. The third faces a charge of mob action. The attackers are all in their early teens — specifically 13-, 14-, and 15-years-old. Because of this, the three are being charged as juveniles.
The victim, who remains officially unidentified, but has been named on social media as Janise Harris, reportedly not only suffers from a mental disability, but also recently lost her mother. An unverified tweet from the user who uploaded the original video states that Janise’s mental condition was aggravated by her recent tragedy.
After the attack, Janise went missing for several days, prompting her family to file a missing persons report. Fortunately, she has since been found by her father and a concerned friend.
Despite the arrests, Chicago police gave only basic details about the incident.
“At this point, it is believed that the victim was invited out by some girls who are so-called ‘friends’ who are eventually the offenders in these disgusting incidents,” said police spokesperson Jose Jara.
“There were some things going on that these young ladies wanted her to do that she didn’t,” added police superintendent Eddie Johnson in a news conference. “We’ll leave it at that for right now.”
The video, which was filmed by a teenage boy who did not intervene, shows the three girls hitting Janise as onlookers laugh. Janise screams in pain and tries to shield herself by covering her face with her arms before turning away. However, other teenagers, including a teenage boy in a green shirt, soon join with the mob, and Janise ultimately falls to the ground while begging for help.
A tweet of the incident from a user who claimed to be a friend of the victim quickly went viral after being published on Monday. Disclaimer: the video contains violence that some may find disturbing.
This is one of the saddest and most disgusting things I have ever seen. I hope every single person in this videos gets what they deserve. A serious a** whoopin paired with jail time. My heart breaks for this poor girl. Those teens are monsters. #justiceforjanise https://t.co/D9WMyAOKP9— Malynda Hale (@MalyndaHale) July 23, 2019
Many Twitter users soon jumped to Janise’s defense, and the video was retweeted tens of thousands of times.
The people in the #justiceforjanise video need to be arrested and prosecuted and that includes the bystanders who stood by and recorded it.We need all hands on deck to end bullying and make an example of those who will use social media to celebrate their hate. We need upstanders!— Dr. Omekongo Dibinga (@omekongo) July 23, 2019
The Chicago Police added during the press conference a message against the hate and intolerance displayed in the video.
“Hate, bullying and bigotry are cancers of our society that do nothing but break and divide us,” concluded Johnson.