Three Mississippi teenagers are facing charges after a “horrific” sexual assault broadcast through Facebook Live went viral, police said.
Haleigh Alexis Hudson, 19, and Kadari Fabien Booker, 17, were arrested on felony kidnapping and sexual assault charges Wednesday night, the Sun Herald reports.
Ezzie Johnson, 17, was also arrested and charged with felony kidnapping.
Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania announced during a press conference Wednesday that police will charge Johnson as an adult for allegedly filming the sexual and physical assault of a 23-year-old female victim at Hudson’s house and posting the video online.
Facebook has removed the video since it was posted, but one version of it had been viewed more than 84,000 times and shared over 1,500 times as of Thursday.
Papania told reporters before Wednesday’s arrests:
Once again, we are witnessing the dark side of social media. These warrants demonstrate our belief about these three individuals and their criminal acts. However, I can’t help but be disturbed by the incredible number of shares and views of this crude and despicable event … It speaks loudly about our culture.
Police responded to reports of an assault at a home in Gulfport late Tuesday when they found the video that showed the sexual and physical assault.
The Clarion-Ledger reports that Facebook user Tiffany Hailey reposted the video to her page after the original copy was deleted.
The 15-minute profanity-laden video shows a man demanding that a woman perform oral sex on him in a bathroom.
“Suck that d—!” the man says.
Hailey said she did not know the people in the video or contact police, but did reach out to the victim through Facebook.
“This is gut-wrenchingly horrific,” Hailey said of the video. “It’s really, really bad.”
Papania said police are investigating claims from Facebook users saying that “the victim has special needs” and added that they will pursue additional charges against the suspects if those claims check out.
Investigators say Johnson and Hudson knew their victim before the alleged assault and are expecting more arrests to be made in this case.
All three suspects remain in Harrison County Jail on bond amounts of $400,000 and $500,000, the Daily Mail reported.