19-year-old Ezzie Johnson, 17-year-old Kadari Booker, and 19-year-old Haleigh Hudson are facing charges of sexual battery and kidnapping for sexually assaulting a 23-year-old while streaming it all on Facebook Live.
Gulfport cops believe Ezzie Johnson, 19, recorded the attack and distributed it online. The original video was removed, but other versions have since been shared thousands of times.
“Once again we are witnessing the dark side of social media,” Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania said during a press conference on Wednesday. “I can’t help but be disturbed by the incredible number of shares and views of this crude and despicable event.”
Facebook user Tiffany Hailey said she saw the attack as it happened online.
“I’m looking at the time date and stamp on it and this is happening right now,” she told the Clarion-Ledger. “You see it escalating.”
Hailey told the newspaper she did not contact the police, but she wanted to help the victim. She posted the video on her Facebook page with the message, “if you know this girl, please do help her. This is serious.”
“This is gut wrenchingly horrific,” Hailey said, according to the paper. “It’s really, really, bad.”
The sexual assault took place Tuesday in suspect Haleigh Alexis Hudson’s apartment, according to cops. The attack appeared to take place in a bathroom.
Johnson, the 19-year-old Hudson and 17-year-old Kadari Fabien Booker were all charged with sexual battery and kidnapping.
Gulfport cops say more arrests may be coming.