Police say sexual battery posted to Facebook Live

Police say sexual battery posted to Facebook Live

GULFPORT, MS (WVUE) - A local social media expert has a grim assessment of a recent attack that was posted live on Facebook.

If the attack on the victim wasn't horrific enough, the Gulfport, MS, police chief says it was broadcast and then shared hundreds of times.

"I can't help but be disturbed by the incredible numbers of shares and views of this crude and despicable event. Not too long ago we were up to 11-hundred shares of that video and I think were at 48-thousand views. It speaks loudly of our culture," said Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania.

The video reportedly shows the beating and sexual battery of a 23-year-old woman while others watched. Now, Ezzie Johnson, Haleigh Hudson, and Kadari Booker have been arrested and will face charges of kidnapping and sexual battery. Police say Johnson posted the Facebook live video from Hudson's Gulfport home.

Tulane University Social Media Expert Ashley Nelson says the act speaks to the mentality of the social media generation.

"Not only just social media but what's okay with them," Nelson said. "I mean, how desensitized is this generation because of video games, because of games they play on their phone 24-7, and just the violence that they see in movies or online wherever. I mean they have access to almost anything 24-7."

Nelson added that the victim was not only violated in the most aggressive and violent way, she was then victimized again with the social media post.

"So this girl, her video is out there on social media, it has been copied, it has been forwarded, it will be there. Just because Facebook took it down, it is still going to travel on the social media world and it's always going to come back," said Nelson.

"I think at some point if we want to change us as a culture, we need to make that criminal to go on Facebook live and video and put out criminal acts. That in and of itself, I think our legislators need to consider making it a criminal act," said Papania.

(WLOX contributed to this story.)

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