Three arrested in connection with Facebook live of Gulfport sexual assault

Haleigh Hudson and Ezzie Johnson booking photos courtesy Gulfport Police

GULFPORT, Miss. — Three people are in custody after a Facebook live video of a sexual assault in Gulfport went viral.

Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania said 19-year-old Haleigh Hudson was arrested on charges of felony kidnapping and sexual battery, while 17-year-old Ezzie Johnson was booked for felony kidnapping. Kadari Booker was arrested on charges of felony kidnapping and sexual assault.

The victim was a 23-year-old woman.

Hudson, the 19-year-old woman, is accused of sexually assaulting the victim while Johnson recorded it on Facebook live.

By Wednesday afternoon, Papania said the video had been shared more than 1,100 times and viewed almost 50,000 times. It was eventually deleted.

“I can’t help but be disturbed by the numbers of shares and views of this crude and despicable event,” he said. “The commentary … is also an indictment on our culture …  We videotape pain and suffering and we view it. And I don’t doubt this story will be dead in two days and everyone will move on to something else, and there will still be a victim of a crime.”

Papania said the assault happened at Hudson’s home, and investigators believe alcohol was involved. Investigators also believe the victim and the suspects knew each other.

“Once again we are witnessing the dark side of social media,” a frustrated Papania told the media during a press conference Wednesday afternoon. “We will continue to work at the speed of proper police work. And we will not try to move at the speed of Facebook.”

Papania also said more arrests and more charges are possible as the investigation continues.