Three sheriff’s deputies will be charged after they were seen on video beating an inmate at a south Georgia jail, state officials said.
Mason Garrick, 23, Camden County Correctional Officer, of Bryceville, Florida; and Rep. Ryan Biegel, 24, and Braxton Massey, 21, both of Kingsland, Ga., were arrested and charged with battery, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced Tuesday, Nov. 22.
Each is also accused of violating their oath of office, authorities said.
Camden County Sheriff Jim Proctor launched an investigation last week after video of the Sept. 3 incident circulated on social media. Security videos show Garrick, Biegel, Massey and at least two others punching and kicking 41-year-old Jarrett Hobbs in his cell at the Camden County Jail, authorities said.
“The Sheriff’s Office of Internal Investigations terminated his employment with the Camden County Sheriff’s Office prior to the arrest,” Proctor said in a statement Tuesday. “The other two employees involved face disciplinary action arising out of the findings of the internal investigation conducted by the sheriff’s office.”
Hobbs, who is from Greensboro, North Carolina, was being held in prison on traffic violations and possession of a controlled substance, the New York Times reported, citing Hobbs attorney Harry Daniels. Hobbs’ family also retained civil rights Attorney Bakari Sellers.
“We would like to thank GBI and Director (Michael) Register for their prompt and decisive action,” Sellers said in a statement. “But we also encourage them not to let their investigations end with these arrests. Those three are just the tip of the iceberg.”
McClatchy News reached out to Daniel’s office for comment on Wednesday, November 23, and is awaiting a response.
Hobbs was charged with assault and assault against Camden County jailers after the attack, but they were later dropped, according to The New York Times.
Videos released by Daniel’s office show Hobbs in his cell before several officers rush in. One of them grabs his neck and the others follow him to restrain him, the video shows. (Warning: Video may be disturbing to viewers.)
Seconds later, another security guard walks in and begins hitting Hobbs repeatedly on the head while the others push him to the ground and wrestle, video shows. Officers continued to scuffle with Hobbs before dragging him from his cell into a hallway where they beat him, a second video shows.
According to WSB-TV, according to Daniels, prison guards claimed Hobbs cursed and pounded on the door before the violent encounter.
“Regardless of whether he used profanity and banged on the door, you still don’t hit a man,” Daniels said, according to the broadcaster. “That may have prompted her to enter the cell, but that didn’t prompt her to spank him.”
He called the arrests of the lawmakers a “first step toward justice,” the New York Times reported.
Garrick, Biegel and Massey were posted to the Camden County Public Safety Complex, the sheriff’s office said.
Camden County is about 100 miles southwest of Savannah.
This story was originally published Nov 23, 2022 1:14 p.m.