New video released this week shows a man from North Carolina being struck by several corrections officers in a Georgia jail, and while the local sheriff’s office is investigating, a legal team says this is just the latest incident in the area.
Channel 9 reported last week that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is now looking into the case. On Tuesday, the Camden County Sheriff’s Office announced charges against three employees.
“Charged with Battery of an Inmate, and Violating the Oath of Office, are Mason Garrick, Braxton Massey, and Ryan Biegel,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement obtained by CNN on Nov. 22. The three employees were also fired.
On Sept. 3, Jarret Hobbs was locked in his jail cell in Camden County, Georgia. In a video released by his legal team this week, a corrections officer is waiting outside Hobbs’ door, waiting for others to arrive. Once they go in, one corrections officer puts a hand on Hobbs’ neck and another can be seen repeatedly punching the top of his head as others try to restrain Hobbs. A second video clip shows the officers dragging Hobbs into the hallway as he’s kicked.
Hobbs, of Greensboro, can be heard screaming at one point during the altercation, and his lawyer claims one of his locs was pulled from his scalp.
“It really was a scary situation for anyone to go through,” Hobbs told Channel 9 from jail Wednesday night. “I honestly had George Floyd on my mind the whole time. Now, even if a guard walks too close to me, I jump.”
Officers could be heard asking Hobbs for a piece of paper before one said, “I’m going to break your (expletive) thumb if you don’t let go.” Seconds later, Hobbs gets taken back to his cell.
Channel 9 learned the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is on its way to North Carolina to interview Hobbs at the Guilford County Detention Center. His Georgia arrest violated a federal parole order so after bonding out in Camden County, he was transferred back to the state. According to his attorney, the GBI will interview Hobbs as a victim.
Fiancée: ‘I could tell that he didn’t sound himself’
Jarrett Hobbs’ fiancée spoke to Channel 9 about the experience. She said Hobbs recently was out of prison on probation when he went to Georgia with some friends. There, he was arrested for speeding and taken to jail, which is where this video was recorded.
She says she didn’t hear from him until nine days later.
“When I did talk to him, I could tell that he didn’t sound himself,” Carla Bostic told Channel 9′s Madison Carter. “I kind of asked him what was wrong and he had told me ‘they jumped on me, they beat me up really bad.’”
She said she didn’t believe him at first.
“At first I was like, ‘Are you sure? You know, because sometimes you can exaggerate,’” she recalled.
Then she saw the video. She told Carter she and their 14-year-old daughter saw it accidentally on social media.
As Carter was speaking to Bostic, Hobbs actually called her from jail via video conference. Carter was able to speak with him and asked what was going through his mind in those moments.
”It really was a scary situation for anybody to go through, honestly,” Hobbs said. “I had George Floyd on mind the whole time going through it because I didn’t want to fall to the ground and that’s what I was like. ‘Just don’t fall, don’t fall, please just don’t fall.’”
He said he didn’t do anything to provoke the deputies.
“And I just want people to know that I didn’t do anything wrong to provoke whatever they said I did,” Hobbs said. “And I was in suicide watch going through a mental health crisis. So no matter what I did, I wasn’t a threat to them, myself, or no one around.”
Camden NAACP president: Hobbs’ case is the latest in a string of excessive force complaints
Timothy Bessent, the president of the Camden Georgia Chapter of the NAACP, says the incident involving Hobbs is the latest in a string of excessive force complaints that have gone nowhere in the area.
“I have in front of me right now about seven lawsuits that went through the court system,” Bessent said. “Most of the cases that been filed, they’re being dismissed by one particular judge. And that’s concerning to me.”
Hobbs’ lawyer, Harry Daniels, spoke at a news conference on Wednesday and called for accountability.
“He’s not the only person; it’s the first time they got caught on camera,” Daniels said. “It’s the first time they got called. [There are] other lawsuits that are pending in this judicial circuit.”
NAACP representatives say they met with Hobbs in jail.
“Mr. Hobbs did seem like he was shaken, seemed like he would describe it a little bit and seemed like he was about to have a mental breakdown,” Bessent said.
After the incident, Hobbs was charged with “felony assault and obstruction of justice,” Daniels said. Daniels claims the sheriff’s office told him that Hobbs was using profanity ahead of what was caught on tape.
“There’s no way in hell that anybody should be beaten the way this man was beaten, I don’t care what he did,” Daniels said.
Hobbs was initially arrested after a traffic stop, which violated his probation. He’s currently being held in the Guilford County Jail, awaiting a transfer to a federal facility.
The Camden County Sheriff’s Office released a statement saying it was investigating the September incident.
VIDEO: NC man speaks with Ch. 9 about beating in Georgia jail