Three sheriff’s deputies face charges after they were seen on video beating a detainee inside a south Georgia jail, state officials said.
Camden County corrections officer Mason Garrick, 23, of Bryceville, Florida; and deputies Ryan Biegel, 24, and Braxton Massey, 21, both of Kingsland, Georgia, were arrested and charged with battery, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Tuesday, Nov. 22.
Each also faces a count of violating their oath of office, authorities said.
Camden County Sheriff Jim Proctor launched an investigation last week after video of the Sep. 3 incident circulated on social media. Security videos show Garrick, Biegel, Massey and at least two others punching and kicking Jarrett Hobbs, 41, in his cell at the Camden County Jail, authorities said.
“The Sheriff’s Office Internal Investigation terminated their employment with the Camden County Sheriff’s Office prior to the arrest,” Proctor said in a statement on Tuesday. “The two other employees involved face disciplinary actions resulting from findings of the internal investigation conducted by the Sheriff’s office.”
Hobbs, who’s from Greensboro, North Carolina, was being held at the jail on charges related to traffic violations and possession of a controlled substance, The New York Times reported, citing Hobbs’ attorney, Harry Daniels. Hobbs’ family has also retained civil rights attorney Bakari Sellers.
“We want to thank the GBI and Director (Michael) Register for their swift and decisive action,” Sellers said in a statement. “But we also encourage them not to let their investigation end with these arrests. These three are just the tip of the iceberg.”
McClatchy News reached out to Daniels’ office for comment Wednesday, Nov. 23, and was awaiting a response.
Hobbs was charged with assault and battery on the Camden County jailers following the attack, but they were later dropped, according to The New York Times.
Videos released by Daniels’ office show Hobbs in his cell before multiple officers storm in. One of them grabs him by his neck and the others follow in an attempt to restrain him, video shows. (Warning: Video may be disturbing for some viewers.)
Seconds later, another guard enters and starts punching Hobbs repeatedly in his head while the others shove and wrestle him to the ground, video shows. The officers continue tussling with Hobbs before they drag him out of his cell and into a hallway, where they proceed to beat him, a second video shows.
Daniels said the jailers claimed Hobbs was cursing and banging on the door prior to the violent encounter, according to WSB-TV.
“Regardless of whether he was using profanity and beating on the door, you still don’t beat a man,” Daniels said, according to the station. “That may have prompted them to enter the cell, but that did not prompt them to beat the hell out of him.”
He called the deputies’ arrests a “first step toward justice,” The New York Times reported.
Garrick, Biegel and Massey were booked into the Camden County Public Safety Complex, the sheriff’s office said.
Camden County is about 100 miles southwest of Savannah.