WOODBINE, Ga. — WARNING: Some viewers may find the video above difficult to watch
UPDATE 9:48 a.m. 11/23- All three officers were released on bond Monday night.
ORIGINAL STORY from 11/22/22
Three officers who were involved in the beating of an inmate at the Camden County Jail in Woodbine in September have been arrested and fired, according to a release from the Camden County Sheriff’s Office.
Mason Garrick, 23, of Bryceville, Fla.; Braxton Massey, 21, of Woodbine, Ga.; and Ryan Biegel, 24, of Kingsland, Ga.; are charged with battery of an inmate and violating the oath of office, CCSO said.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation and CCSO conducted investigations into the beating of 41-year-old Jarrett Hobbs from Greensboro, North Carolina, which originally happened on Sept. 3. The investigations began last week after video of the incident surfaced on social media.
Massey was employed with CCSO for 6 months, Garrick for 18 months, and Biegel was employed by CCSO for 3 years. Their employment with CCSO was terminated before their arrests.
The other two employees involved in the incident “face disciplinary actions resulting from findings of the Internal Investigation conducted by the Sheriff’s Office,” CCSO said.
Sheriff Jim Proctor said in a news release, “I appreciate the Georgia Bureau of Investigation assisting our agency with this critical incident that occurred. The arrest of these employees culminates the criminal investigation and ends their employment with The Camden County Sheriff’s Office.”
While speaking about the investigation, GBI Director Michael Register said he was “shocked” when he saw the video.
“As a citizen, my reaction was like anyone else ... you know it shocked the conscience. But I’ve also been in law enforcement long enough to understand that we have to stop, take a knee, and look at the facts, and put everything into context,” Register said.
Hobbs is being represented by Attorneys Harry Daniels and Bakari Sellers. Daniels said the following in a news release after the arrests:
“The GBI launched their investigation and arrested these violent thugs just days after learning what happened. Compare that to Sheriff Proctor who sat on it for more than two months and did nothing and it’s clear who takes justice seriously and who doesn’t. This is just the first step toward justice. Convictions and imprisonment are the final acts.”
Sellers said the following of the arrests:
“We want to thank the GBI and Director Register for their swift and decisive action. But we also encourage them not to let their investigation end with these arrests. These three are just the tip of the iceberg.”
On Monday, Nov. 21, Daniels and Sellers sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) requesting that it also investigate the beating and the officers involved for violating Hobbs’ civil rights and potentially committing a hate crime. Click HERE to view that letter.
On Tuesday, Nov. 15, GBI said it would investigate the use of force after District Attorney Keith Higgins sent out a letter asking the GBI to begin the investigation. Register said GBI agents went to North Carolina to interview Hobbs about the incident.
Now that the investigation is complete, the district attorney’s office will look at the case and determine what action should be taken.
After the video was released on social media, the Camden County Sheriff’s Office said Monday, Nov. 14 it was conducting an internal investigation.
According to CCSO, their investigation “will include all recorded video from the time the inmate entered the facility on September 3rd, 2022 until his release on September 30th, 2022.”
According to Camden County Jail records, Hobbs had been arrested for speeding, driving with a suspended/revoked license and possession of a controlled substance on Sept. 3. The office of Harry Daniels, the Atlanta-based attorney representing Hobbs, said Hobbs was charged with assault after he was beaten by the officers.
Action News Jax has requested Hobbs’ arrest report to get the details of what led up to his initial arrest.
Daniels’ office initially released two surveillance videos, which do not have sound, from inside the jail. The first video shows Hobbs in a small cell, picking up a small object and what appears to be a sandwich off a bench when several officers come rushing in. The first guard puts a hand on Hobbs’ neck. Other guards come in to help restrain him, and another guard comes in and starts punching Hobbs on the top of his head.
Another video from another angle shows a corrections officer unlock the door, then several guards enter the cell. After about 35 seconds, the guards can be seen pulling Hobbs into the hallway and at least two guards can be seen striking Hobbs’ body with their knees. Daniels’ office claims that one of Hobbs’ dreadlocks was ripped from his head during the incident.
“This video is undeniable and the deputies’ actions are inexcusable,” Daniels said in a news release after the videos first came out. “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.”
CCSO released the following statement on the investigation when it was first announced:
“A video published on social media is a portion of an incident that occurred at The Camden County Sheriff’s Office Jail has the public questioning the actions of the correction officers. Sheriff Jim Proctor, and members of the Command Staff, have reviewed the video. Sheriff Proctor has ordered an internal investigation of the incident to begin immediately. This investigation will include all recorded video from the time the inmate entered the facility on September 3rd, 2022 until his release on September 30th, 2022. If deemed necessary an additional agency will assist with the investigation.
“Internal investigations involve reviewing of videos, questioning of witnesses, and documentation of evidence recovered which takes time, and not completed overnight. The Camden County Sheriff’s Office has always been an agency that is transparent allowing the public access to all operations of each division. During the investigation, names of all people involved will be confidential until the conclusion of the inquiry.”
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Camden County Board of Commissioners also released a statement on the incident:
“The Camden County Board of Commissioners is aware of a controversial video purportedly taken inside the Camden County Jail that was circulated on several news and social media outlets on November 11, 2022. The video appears to show a physical altercation between an inmate and corrections officers from the Camden County Sheriff’s Office. This is a serious matter which deserves investigation and attention. It is important to note, however, that the Camden County Board of Commissioners does not have jurisdiction or control over actions occurring inside the jail. That responsibility resides with the Camden County Sheriff, a Georgia Constitutional officer elected by the voters of Camden County.
“The Georgia Constitution addresses the issue of county governance by allocating power between Boards of Commissioners and county-level constitutional officers, including the County Sheriff. In the structure of Georgia county governments, the office of Sheriff has the distinction of being not simply another department. Because the office of Sheriff is a constitutional one, its internal operations are the sole responsibility of the Sheriff, and the Sheriff is not subordinate to the Board of Commissioners or the County Administrator. These elected officials manage their own offices and may or may not adopt and adhere to policies established by the Board of Commissioners.
“Because of this allocation of powers, the Board of Commissioners does not have the authority to set the terms of employment, including discipline, for jailers and deputies of the Camden County Sheriff’s Office. A county commission is, by Georgia law, simply responsible for preparing a comprehensive, balanced county budget that includes reasonable funding for the other county elected officials, like the Camden County Sheriff, to perform their statutory duties.
“Concerns with employees of the Camden County Jail should be addressed to the Camden County Sheriff’s Office.”
Jarrett Hobbs also released a statement after the three officers were arrested:
“The arrest of the three Camden County jailers is a great start towards justice. I will be able to say more once the case goes to trial and justice has been served. I am still processing everything day by day; but I want to thank the GBI for reviewing the video and seeing it for exactly what it was – an unjust beating. I also want to thank my lawyer, Harry Daniels, for handling my case because without him none of this would have been possible.” – Jarrett Hobbs