Updated as of 11/23/2022 at 9:30 a.m. ET
Three Georgia sheriff’s have been arrested and charged for the beating of Jarrett Hobbs inside a Camden County jail, per NBC News. The three were charged with battery and violating the oath of office. Their arrest comes after pressure from the public upon the release of the surveillance footage.
Mason Garrick (23), Braxton Massey (21) and Ryan Biegel (24) were fired from the county sheriff’s office following the exposure of the incident, per the report. The three are being held on a $10,000 bond. Georgia Bureau of Investigation Director Michael Register said he was shocked after watching the video and found probable cause to charge the young men.
“There is a sacred and fragile trust that exists between law enforcement the communities that we serve. This trust must be protected and preserved,” he said via NBC News.
Hobbs ended up with additional charges after the incident as well. He was originally charged for speeding and driving on a revoked or suspended license in North Carolina, per CNN. However, he was booked in a Georgia jail for violating his probation. The deputies alleged he attacked them during the altercation, landing Hobbs aggravated battery, simple assault and obstruction of law enforcement officers.
Previous reporting on the Jarrett Hobbs case:
A third video was released showing the brutal beating of Hobbs by a group of five sheriff’s deputies at a Camden County jail. In a press conference, attorneys for Hobbs criticized the Camden County Sheriff Jim Proctor’s office for moving too slow to investigate the incident, per News4Jax.
In the newest video, Hobbs is seen being beaten in the hallway, letting out a bloodcurdling scream as the deputies knee him and pin him down on a bench. After handcuffing him, the deputies walk with him back to his cell and come back into view checking each other for injuries. Attorney Harry Daniels alleges one of Hobbs’ dreadlocks was ripped during the assault, per CBS47 News.
“We do notice that when the sheriff’s own relative had a drug bust against him, he ended up being fine. But when this Black man is apparently kicking a door or screaming or whatever he may have been doing, they decided that they were going to parse out the punishment,” said attorney Bakari Sellers in a press conference. “I didn’t see the sheriff throw a punch, but he might as well have because his failures led to this happening.”
In the two previously released videos, Hobbs is standing in his cell, turning to pick up a piece of paper when a guard rushes inside and grabs Hobbs by the neck. Four others bum rushed inside the cell (which could barely hold two people) and began punching Hobbs repeatedly. Then, Hobbs is seen being dragged through the cell door, thrown against the wall and being hit with their knees.
More on the incident from AP News:
The sheriff’s office released no details of what happened in Hobbs’ cell. But federal court records in North Carolina, where Hobbs was on probation for a 2014 federal criminal conviction, say guards entered Hobbs’ cell because he was repeatedly kicking his cell door and refusing orders to stop.
A judge’s order Oct. 20 said a probation officer testified that Hobbs had “punched one deputy in the face while punching another deputy in the side of the head. One deputy sustained a bruised eye and a broken hand as a result of the incident.” It also noted that Hobbs was punched in the head and that the probation officer was “unaware of the exact sequence of events.”
It’s unclear on the video recordings to what extent Hobbs fought the jailers. In most of the video Hobbs is either obscured by the guards surrounding him or is out of the frame. His attorney, Daniels, said Hobbs would have been justified to fight back against guards attacking him unlawfully. He said the guard with the broken hand injured himself by punching a wall as he swung at Hobbs.
“This video is undeniable and the deputies’ actions are inexcusable. Mr. Hobbs entered the Camden County Jail suffering a psychological episode and asking to be placed in protective confinement. But instead of protecting him, these deputies jumped him and beat and kicked him mercilessly like a gang of dangerous thugs,” said attorney Harry Daniels in a statement, per CBS47.
The beating wasn’t even all that was wrong with this case. The incident is almost two months old and only warranted an investigation after Hobbs’ attorneys published the footage of the confrontation. Then I wondered, how many other detainees may have been subject to the same treatment? The answer is many.
Previous victims of abuse from the Camden County jail spoke up at the press conference about their experiences of being assaulted by guards. Their cases never got the attention they deserved because the proof of their assault could have been swept under the rug - just how they could have with Hobbs.