Atlanta Police have launched an investigation after a disturbing Facebook Live video of an alleged sexual assault went viral.
According to NBC affiliate 11Alive, Saturday evening, a young woman turned on her Facebook livestream during what appeared to be a sexual assault on the dance floor of the Opera nightclub.
In the series of clips, the alleged victim can be heard pleading “somebody help me” during her assault as tears roll down her face. In the comments section of her personal Facebook page, others have posted recordings of what appears to be additional live footage shot from her camera. In these videos her terror is heightened and she can again be heard repeatedly screaming, “stop” and “help me.”
theGrio has chosen not to publish photos, videos or the identity of the woman in question out of concern for her safety. But a Facebook spokesperson has come forward to confirm they are working with authorities to look into the matter.
In the meantime, the livestream video was removed because Facebook’s community standards do not allow videos showing sexual violence. Unfortunately, while the original post was taken down, several replicas are still circulating on the internet. Some users have even began posting still shots from the horrifying video in hopes of identifying the alleged attacker.
Praying that women and men are safe here in Atlanta during Super Bowl weekend.
At the tail end of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, we should be pushing this conversation.
As well as the latest incident at Opera Nightclub; ladies please watch your drinks and your friends.
— ë (@EboneShardae) January 21, 2019
Sunday, Atlanta Police began receiving concerned calls from viewers and Special Victims Unit detectives contacted the victim to officially open the investigation.
Law enforcement analyst Vincent Hill says the video appears authentic and at the moment investigators are most likely working to identify the man. There has also been indication that drugs may have been slipped into the woman’s drink given her visibly disoriented state.
“Based on what I saw in the video, it appears something was going on,” Hill said. “There could be something there … maybe she was given something that she didn’t know about. Just based on her body language, her body actions .. the way her entire facial expression changed.”