Three employees of the Camden County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia have been arrested in connection to the beating of a Black man who was being detained in the Camden County Detention Center in September.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Camden County Sheriff’s Office have wrapped up separate investigations into the beating of 41-year-old Jarrett Hobbs.
“Charged with Battery of an Inmate, and Violating the Oath of Office, are Mason Garrick, Braxton Massey, and Ryan Biegel,” authorities said in a news release from the sheriff’s office. The sheriff’s office also terminated Garrick, Massey, and Biegel before their arrests.
All three have been booked into the Camden County Public Safety Complex.
Two other employees face disciplinary actions, the release said.
Last week, the family and attorneys for Hobbs called for the five employees involved to be fired and charged and for the US Justice Department to investigate the sheriff’s office.
“I appreciate the Georgia Bureau of Investigation assisting our agency with this critical incident that occurred,” Camden County Sheriff Jim Proctor said. “The arrest of these employees culminates the criminal investigation.”
Biegel had been employed by the sheriff’s office for three years while Garrick had been with the agency 18 months and Massey had been employed there six months.
Hobbs’ attorneys last week released two videos of the incident and shortly before a news conference they released a third video, with audio, which partially showed the altercation between Hobbs and the employees in the county’s detention center. The video appears to be from the facility’s surveillance system and was obtained through a separate legal proceeding in North Carolina involving Hobbs.
The first two videos, which have no audio, also appear to be from the jail’s surveillance system. The videos showed Hobbs alone in a cell at the detention center.
In one video, five employees can be seen entering Hobbs’ cell, and one grabbing Hobbs at his neck. A struggle ensued inside the cell. Soon, at least four of the employees can be seen wrestling with Hobbs, some hitting him in the head.
A second video released by Hobbs’ attorneys shows Hobbs being pulled out of the cell and employees can be seen wrestling him to the ground. The video appears to show at least one employee kicking Hobbs. Four of the five employees appear to be White; the other appears to be Black.
Within seconds of the third video’s beginning, two loud bangs ring through the jail hallway. An employee who appears to be walking away from Hobbs’ cell turns around as the sounds are heard, then disappears around the corner near Hobbs’ cell, which is not visible in the shot.
Four employees are then seen walking towards Hobbs’ cell. The cell door opens, and the employees and Hobbs reappear about 30 seconds later, tumbling into the hallway. A loud wail is heard.
Though much of the audio is muffled and indistinguishable, one employee can be heard yelling “stop resisting.” Hobbs yells, “Man I’m sitting down, y’all stop …” as the employees crowd around him attempting to restrain him.
At one point an employee instructs Hobbs to “give us the other hand.”
Hobbs responds screaming, “How the f**k, I’m on one leg…”
As the employees worked to restrain Hobbs, one is heard saying “let go.” It is followed by Hobbs and the employees going back and forth about something in his hand. Hobbs says, “it’s paper” just before the employees gain control of Hobbs and place him in a restraint chair, in his cell.
About eight minutes later, the video shows at least three employees engaging with Hobbs after removing him from his cell while still restrained in the chair. In the silent video, it appears they are talking with Hobbs; one employee checks his restraints before he is placed back in the cell.
Hobbs violated his probation on a federal case out of North Carolina by being in Georgia, where he was charged with speeding, driving on a revoked or suspended license and possession of a controlled substance, civil rights attorney Harry Daniels, who represents Hobbs, said last weekend.
In North Carolina court documents on his probation revocation, his probation officer, FJ Carney, who was not present at the Georgia detention center, gave a narrative of the events that happened at the Camden County jail.
“While Defendant was in custody at the (sheriff’s office) complex in Woodbine, Georgia, jailers heard a large banging from Defendant’s holding cell. Defendant was reportedly kicking his cell door and was told by jailers to stop after already being warned to stop previously,” the court document said.
“Officer Carney testified that Defendant apparently continued this kicking, resulting in the jailers approaching him, giving him verbal commands and putting his hands behind his back. However, Defendant allegedly did not comply and responded to the jailers, saying ‘I ain’t doing sh*t.’. After the jailers reportedly continued to give him orders and approached him, Defendant tensed up, pulled away, and a physical altercation between Defendant and jailers ensued,” the document continued.
“According to Officer Carney, Defendant resisted the jailers and subsequently punched one deputy in the face while punching another deputy in the side of his head. One deputy suffered a bruised eye and a broken hand as a result of the incident. Officer Carney did note that the report reflected that Defendant was struck in the head by one of the correctional officers, although Officer Carney is unaware of the exact sequence of events,” it said.
Earlier this month, in a final hearing, a federal judge revoked his probation, but dismissed a violation related to the arrest and charges of battery, assault and obstruction on the Camden County jail employees that were alleged by Carney. Hobbs admitted to three other violations for traffic offences, drug possession and not informing his probation officer of travel, according to federal court records.
The US Attorney’s Office has said through a spokesperson it “doesn’t discuss active investigations or if they exist.”
Hobbs remains in custody in North Carolina, his attorney has said. “He’s struggling every day,” he said at the news conference.