Symone Sanders, a CNN contributor who previously served as press secretary for Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I., Vt.) presidential campaign, was skeptical on Wednesday night that the torture of a white man with special needs constitutes a hate crime.
CNN host Don Lemon assembled a panel late Wednesday evening to discuss the gruesome video that shows a white man with special needs being tortured by a group of African-American teenagers. The video had been posted to Facebook Live, and the four suspects have since been arrested by the Chicago Police Department. The suspects in the video shout, "Fuck Donald Trump! Fuck white people."
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While discussing the video, Lemon noted that the Chicago Police Department is investigating whether the attack could be labeled a hate crime. He then asked Sanders whether she would classify the incident as a hate crime.
Sanders first denounced the crime, describing it as "sickening," but then questioned whether the act should be described as a hate crime.
"We can't callously call things hate crime," Sanders said. "Is this hate for Donald Trump or pure hate of white people? That matters."
Sanders tried to explain her distinction between what she would view as a hate crime versus a crime committed against someone because of their political beliefs.
"Because someone does not like your political leanings and they do something bad to you, that is not a hate crime," Sanders said.
The perpetrators in the video can be heard yelling expletives at the victim for his race and support for the president-elect.
Sanders has previously mocked a victim of mob violence who was beaten after the presidential election while the attackers shouted, "You voted for Trump." She has also suggested that the election of Trump has "put white supremacy into the White House."