Atlanta authorities have made an arrest in the case of a woman sexually assaulted inside a popular nightclub that was streamed on Facebook Live.
According to documents obtained by Atlanta Black Star, the Atlanta Police Department’s Special Victims Unit secured a warrant Sunday charging 34-year-old Dominique Williams with aggravated sodomy. Police arrested Williams after he turned himself into the Fulton County Jail on Tuesday, Jan. 29.
Authorities say the investigation into the assault is still active.
Atlanta officers arrived at Midtown’s Opera Atlanta nightclub on Jan. 20 after receiving reports about a “possible sexual assault” that was streamed online from inside the popular venue. A 911 caller alerted police to the videos, saying she saw a Black woman being “groped on her chest” and possibly “raped” from behind.
The footage, which was removed by Facebook, showed victim Jasmine Eiland on the dance floor as a man, later identified as Williams, danced closely behind her. In the clips, Eiland can be heard begging for help and repeatedly shouting “please stop” as the man allegedly assaults her in the middle of the crowded nightclub.
Local station Channel 2 Action News reported the young woman was at the club celebrating a birthday when the alleged assault unfolded. She told police someone had slipped drugs in her drink, then violated her on the dance floor. Eiland, who was already filming her birthday festivities on Facebook Live, continued streaming as she was “mounted” from behind.
Officers arrived at the club on Crescent Avenue to investigate but were unable to locate the victim. Officers reviewed the videos again and realized it had been recorded an hour before they arrived. A responding officer noted in the police report that Eiland never contacted the police about the incident
In a statement, the nightclub’s management said it’s cooperating with authorities, saying “We’ll continue to aid and support their investigation in any way we can.”
A day prior to his arrest, Williams’ attorney, Shequel Ross, issued a statement on behalf of her client. In a YouTube video, Ross insists the dance between Williams and Eiland was consensual “at the beginning” and argued her client should be given the benefit of the doubt considering Eiland didn’t contact police right away and participated in a dance contest while wearing no panties.
“The goal is about truth. The goal is about evidence,” Ross began. “The facts of this case do not prove that my client led [Eiland] off, abused her, misused her or raped her. My client has been crucified and convicted in the media, and I’m here to get down to the bottom of this.”
She added: “I think the evidence will show otherwise, that this was not a rape.”
Atlanta Black Star reached out to SHELaw Firm for comment but hasn’t heard back.
Watch more in the video below.