"Hold on," the teen says as he pulls himself to his feet and tries to talk them into stopping.

But one of the attackers, wearing gray sweats, asks:  "Do you (expletive) understand?" He then punches the boy in the face and knocks him to the ground, then kicks him in the face, sending the boy sprawling on the snow-covered ground.

The victim is a senior at Curie High School on the Southwest Side, according to a Chicago Public Schools spokesman.

Even though the boy's assailants used racial epithets, in a brief statement Tuesday, police said the attack did not appear to be racially motivated.

The videotaped beating stemmed from a fight in October between the victim and his attackers, police said.

"These developments (the video) led to swift arrests and great detective work," Superintendent Garry McCarthy said at a news conference.

"As a result of their posting, we had great cooperation from the community," McCarthy said. "This video assisted us greatly in identifying the offenders in this incident."

Wentworth Area Cmdr. Patricia Walsh said the attack stemmed from "ongoing teen-aged disputes" and "disagreements" that escalated into a fight in October.

"The initial altercation involved the victim and the offending group," Walsh said. "It was not (previously) reported."

The image of Chicago in this case has been reflective in similar incident in other cities, where youths go on "sprees," videotape them and post them on YouTube, McCarthy said.

"This is a national epidemic. It's not something that's particular to Chicago," he said.

McCarthy pointed out that the video could've been a lot worse.

"The first time I looked at that video, the first thing I thought about was a friend of mine who I've seen in a video of him, and he ends up dying as a result..."

jmeisner@tribune.com

jgorner@tribune.com