Family Finds Teen's Prison Abuse on Facebook

Facility officials weren't aware of it: aunt
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2015 5:17 AM CDT
Family Finds Teen's Prison Abuse on Facebook
Cortez Berry is seen in this police photo.   (Police handout via New York Daily News)

Family members of a teenage inmate in Georgia say they're horrified by an assault that ended up on Facebook—and by the fact they might not have known about it otherwise. The photo taken at Al Burruss Correctional Training Center shows two young men standing over a crouched Cortez Berry, who has a swollen eye and is being held on a makeshift leash, reports the New York Daily News. The caption says "Wen yhu disrespect da bringz nuthin but pain & sufferingg..#wedntgettired #GDFOLK," an apparent reference to the gang known as Gangster Disciples, or GD Nation. Berry's aunt tells NBC News he was attacked on Friday, the day before he turned 18, by inmates who tried to get him to join the gang before he was moved to the adult part of the facility. Berry is in prison for violating probation after a carjacking when he was 14.

The aunt tells NBC that after the family saw the shocking picture, they could not get through to the facility by phone, and when she went there in person, officials were not aware he had been attacked. A Georgia Department of Corrections spokeswoman tells the Augusta Chronicle that the incident is under investigation and that cellphones—a "nationwide issue" in prisons—are contraband that facilities use body scanners to detect. Berry has now been transferred to Smith State Prison, and his mother tells NBC she fears for his life at the notoriously violent facility. The photo of him has "been all over social media, because the world has seen it," she says. "So if they have cellphones in that prison, they have seen it. I'm afraid they might kill him." (Inmates also use cellphones to run scams from behind bars.)

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