WOODBINE, Ga. — WARNING: Some viewers may find the video above difficult to watch
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has been asked to investigate the use of force that was captured on camera at the Camden County Safety Complex on Sept. 3, 2022.
District Attorney Keith Higgins sent out a letter on Tuesday, Nov. 15 indicating that he has asked the GBI to begin the investigation.
The incident involved an inmate, Jarrett J. Hobbs and deputies from the Camden County Sheriff’s Office.
GBI has confirmed it will investigate the incident. After the investigation is complete, the district attorney’s office will look at the case and determine what action should be taken.
The Camden County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an internal investigation after the video was released on social media showing a man being beaten by corrections officers in the Camden County Jail in Woodbine.
According to CCSO, the 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, 41-year-old Jarrett Hobbs from Greensboro, North Carolina, 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 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.
Attorneys for Hobbs are asking for a criminal investigation.
“This video is undeniable and the deputies’ actions are inexcusable,” Daniels said in a news release. “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.”
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CCSO released the following statement on the investigation:
“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.”
Camden County Board of Commissioners also released a statement:
“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.”