The gruesome video showing a group of four attackers beating and battering a mentally challenged man is just the latest sign that criminals have been "emboldened" to lawless acts, not just in Chicago but across the country, former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy told Fox News on Friday.
"Unfortunately, this is becoming the new normal," he said on "America's Newsroom."
McCarthy said that despite nationwide outrage, political leaders respond to such crimes with a collective shrug, giving criminals the confidence to act again and again. "The more outlandish the incident, we're horrified, but there's no reaction to it."
The Windy City's former top cop stepped down in 2015 amid accusations of a cover-up over the police killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. A white police officer shot the black teenager 16 times. Police said McDonald had lunged at officers with a knife, but witnesses said that wasn't true.
As seen in the horrifying video that appeared online this week, a young, mentally disabled white man was beaten, threatened with a knife and taunted with profanities against white people and President-elect Donald Trump. The suspects, who are black, face charges including hate crime and aggravated battery.
Cook County prosecutors identified the suspects as Brittany Covington and Tesfaye Cooper, both of Chicago, and Jordan Hill, of suburban Carpentersville. All are 18. A fourth suspect was identified as Covington's 24-year-old sister, Tanishia Covington, also of Chicago.
McCarthy called for a dialogue among political and religious leaders to find solutions to what he called a problem related to class and race. "All the fingers are being pointed at police in this country, not just here in this city. The police are not the problem. The criminals are the problem."
He denied President Obama's suggestion that Chicago's rising crime wave was an isolated problem. "These issues exist in disenfranchised communities."
Before the torture video emerged, McCarthy charged that the Black Lives Matter movement helped trigger the surge in violence. He said Sunday that protesters helped form a "political atmosphere of anti-police sentiment."
Black Lives Matter organizer DeRay Mckesson responded to the New York Daily News: "I am reminded that it was McCarthy's police department that killed Laquan McDonald and hid the video for a year. He bears great responsibility for the public attitude towards the police."
Fox News' Martha MacCallum and The Associated Press contributed to this report.