We perish because we know not… #TLENews
A mother is seeking answers after a picture revealed her son was beaten at a Georgia correctional facility. Augusta native, Cortez Berry, was pictured in a photo with an eye swollen shut, something around his neck resembling a noose or a leash, and two inmates standing over him.
Berry turned 18 on Saturday, but it wasn’t much of a celebration. He spent most of his birthday nursing wounds in the infirmary from a prison beat down.
Demetria Harris, Cortez Berry’s mother, was first notified by a family friend that the gruesome photo of her son was making its rounds on Facebook Friday.
“I was like oh my God! What happened? How’d it happen? It’s a terrifying picture to see,” she said.
“I want justice for him. I’m going to do whatever it takes to get it for him, because at the end of the day, he don’t deserve this. No one deserves this,” she said.
Berry ended up in the Augusta YDC when he was 14 for assault, robbery, and theft. He was later transferred to the Burruss Correctional Training Center, a medium security detention center in Forsyth, Georgia for violating his probation.
“They’re not being protected. I don’t care what they’re there for, they still need to be protected,” said Harris.
The alleged attack appears to be gang related sources are reporting. The caption of the photo posted on Facebook reads: ‘When you disrespect the Nation, it brings nothing but pain and suffering.’
Officials say it’s a reference to the gang, G.D. Nation, short for ‘gangsta disciples.’
Cortez’s aunt, Shavondria Wright was finally able to see him Saturday during visiting hours to find out what happened.
“Ten people jumped on him and just kept beating him and they choked him to sleep. Pretty much they left him there for dead,” Wright said.
Where were the guards?
According to Harris, Berry was not checked on until 9:45 at night. “It happened at 3:15 and he didn’t get checked on until 9:45,” said Harris.
Now, his family wants justice and assurance their loved one will be able to pay his debt to society, without being killed.
“We could’ve lost him. He could’ve been dead. Especially when they hung the belt around his neck. He could’ve just been gone,” said Wright.
The Department of Corrections told News 12, “The Department is fully aware and this incident is currently under investigation. The Department does not allow inmates to have access to cellphones, as possession of such contraband is deemed illegal. Introduction of cellphones into our facilities is a nationwide issue the Corrections system is facing. The Department continuously works to utilize extensive resources to combat this issue. We take very seriously our mission of protecting the public and running safe and secure facilities.”