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Five Georgia Deputies Placed on Administrative Leave for ‘Mercilessly’ Punching, Kicking Black Man In Jail ‘Like a Gang of Dangerous Thugs’

A group of Georgia jail deputies is on desk duty after a video surfaced of them circling and beating a Black detainee.

Attorneys and the family of Jarrett Hobbs are demanding answers and a federal investigation into a vicious attack. Video footage released by the man’s attorneys shows Hobbs grabbing a piece of paper and a sandwich before five jail guards march into his cell, corner him against a wall and lambaste him with punches in September.

Black man jumped in jail by deputies
Camden County deputies beat Jarrett Hobbs in a jail cell. (Photo: Video screen grab)

Attorneys Harry Daniels, Bakari Sellers and Mario Pacella, Camden County NAACP President Timothy Bessent Sr. and other community activists held a rally outside the county’s sheriff’s office on Wednesday calling on charges against the deputies and for systemic changes in the sheriff’s department.

“If Mr. Hobbs was an animal, this would be cruel to the animals,” Daniels said Wednesday. “This was a human being who was beaten viciously by the deputies or jailers who work for this sheriff’s department right behind you.”

Camden County Sheriff Jim Proctor and members of his command staff reviewed the video, his office said in a statement Monday, and Proctor has launched an internal investigation. The deputies were placed on administrative leave on Monday. Hobbs’ legal team said Wednesday that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is also reviewing the incident.

The attorneys questioned why it took Proctor so long to address the issue. Hobbs, 41, was in the Woodbine, Georgia, facility from Sept. 3 to Sept. 30 and was arrested on charges of traffic offenses and possession of a controlled substance.

“Why did it take him so long to conduct an internal investigation, is it because the video being public? If that’s the reason, it’s not a reason,” said attorney Pacella.

The footage released Monday shows jailers piling into the small cell after it is unlocked. Another angle shows Hobbs, who is Black, pacing close to the door before he turns around to grab the items from the bench. Before he can sit down with the sandwich, a guard grabs him by the throat, slams him to the wall and presses his head into the wall by his jaw. By that time, Hobbs is surrounded by five jailers, four white and one Black.

“This video is undeniable, and the deputies’ actions are inexcusable,” Daniels said. “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.”

The guards punch the detainee repeatedly in his neck and head for more than 20 seconds before dragging a bare bottom Hobbs into the hallway and slamming him into another wall. One of the deputies appears to kick Hobbs while he is on the floor.

Daniels said they somehow ripped one of Hobbs’ locs out of his scalp. The rest of the altercation is mostly out of the camera’s view, and there is no audio in the first two videos. The attorneys also released the full video on Thursday.

Daniels said Hobbs was then “tucked away” in solitary confinement for two weeks so his injuries could heal. Video of the aftermath shows he was strapped to a restraint chair.

“My Hobbs had swelling, a chipped tooth, maybe internal bleeding,” he said. “We’ll never know because they never gave him any treatment.”

Daniels said the beating was for no apparent reason. Hobbs had been arrested for speeding, driving with a suspended or revoked license, and possessing a controlled substance. After the ambush, he was charged with assault.

“This wasn’t some arrest that got out of hand or a judgment call made out of fear for your life,” Daniels said in a statement to Atlanta Black Star. “This was targeted gang violence pure and simple. It just so happens that the gang members were wearing badges and we’re calling on the district attorney to bring charges immediately.”

Daniels said that the sheriff’s office knew about the beating when it occurred because they sent a report about the incident to Hobbs’ probation officer in North Carolina.

Federal records obtained by ABC News say the guards entered his cell because he was kicking the door and disobeying orders. A North Carolina federal judge reportedly revoked Hobbs’ probation for a 2014 guilty plea for conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud on Nov. 7 because of the charges in Georgia, but the court later dismissed the probation violation for assault after seeing the video.

A probation officer reportedly testified that Hobbs “punched one deputy in the face while punching another deputy in the side of the head. One deputy sustained a bruised eye and a broken hand as a result of the incident.” Daniels said the deputy injured himself hitting the wall.

The videos do not show Hobbs being in a position to land a blow on the officers who had surrounded him. The probation officer reportedly told the court that Hobbs was also struck but was “unaware of the exact sequence of events.”

However, Hobbs’ defense attorney demanded video proof of the alleged assault, Daniels said.

“And when the USAO (U.S. Attorney Office) and his probation officer saw the video, they came to one conclusion. Mr. Hobbs didn’t commit assault on anybody. They committed an assault on Mr. Hobbs,” Daniels said.

Proctor said the internal investigations involve reviewing videos, questioning witnesses and recording evidence recovered, “which takes time” and can’t be 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,” the statement says. “During the investigation, names of all people involved will be confidential until the conclusion of the inquiry.”

Cpt. Larry Bruce told Atlanta Black Star that the investigation was ongoing Tuesday.

The group says Hobbs’ beating is just one example of the injustices and abuse in Camden County

The group says Hobbs’ beating is just one example of the injustices and abuse in Camden County Sheriff’s office.

“The culture of violence against Black people with no accountability is the heritage of decades,” Besset said. “The beaten of Jarrett Hobbs and other incidents that have come to light show how far this sheriff’s office has to go.”

Daniels also represents the family of Latoya James, a woman who was killed in the same city, outside Savannah, when Camden County deputies served a search warrant at her cousin’s house in May 2021. James’ family has filed a $25 million federal lawsuit against Proctor and the deputies involved in her wrongful death. The incident has been compared to that of Breonna Taylor, who was killed in a similar raid by Louisville Police in 2020.

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