Three Georgia officers involved in the brutal beating of a Black man are now on the other side of the law.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has arrested three Camden County Sheriff’s Office jail employees in connection to the beating of Jarrett Hobbs. The GBI launched its investigation last week after Hobbs’ attorneys released videos of the incident.
Five jail staffers surrounded 41-year-old Hobbs in his cell and assailed him with blows. The staffers dragged him out of the cell partially naked and continued the beating in the hallway, with officers at one point kicking Hobbs. His attorneys said officers ripped two of his locs out of his head and that he had a chipped tooth and experienced swelling.
“The GBI launched their investigation and arrested these violent thugs just days after learning what happened,” said civil rights attorney Harry Daniels, who’s representing Hobbs. “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.”
Hobbs’ legal team says the sheriff’s office was aware of the incident when it first occurred in September. However, Camden County sheriff Jim Proctor announced that he was launching an investigation after the initial footage was released last week, more than two months after the Sept. 3 incident.
GBI agents arrested Braxton Massey, 21, Mason Garrick, 23, and Ryan Biegel, 24, on Tuesday. All three were charged with battery of an inmate and violating the oath of office; they were booked in the same jail where they beat Hobbs.
“We want to thank the GBI and Director Register for their swift and decisive action,” attorney Bakari Sellers said in a statement. “But we also encourage them not to let their investigation end with these arrests. These three are just the tip of the iceberg.”
Daniels said in a statement Tuesday’s arrests are “just the first step toward justice.”
“Convictions and imprisonment are the final acts,” he said.
Hobbs’ attorneys have also sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice calling on its civil rights division to investigate the beating and the officers involved for violating Hobbs’ civil rights, and to determine if the beating was racially motivated. Four of the five officers involved were white.
“It is unequivocal and undisputed that Mr. Hobbs’ 14th Amendment right was brutally violated by four white jailers under the color law,” the letter to the USDOJ says. “As a pretrial detainee, Mr. Hobbs maintained the protection afforded to him by the Constitution of the United States under the 4th Amendment via the 14th Amendment.”
Federal records obtained by ABC News reportedly show the guards entered Hobbs’ cell because he was kicking the door and disobeying orders. Video footage shows Hobbs pacing by the door briefly before he grabs a sandwich and paper from a bench in the cell. He is then pounced on by jailers who gathered outside before letting loose on Hobbs.
The sheriff’s office also terminated Garrick, Massey, and Biegel before their arrests. The other jailers involved were placed on administrative leave last week.
Hobbs is currently in a North Carolina jail for violating his probation for federal conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud charges by being in Georgia. Hobbs reportedly pleaded guilty to the federal charges in 2014.
“He’s struggling every day, the thought of what happened to him although his physical injuries may heal,” Daniels said at a press conference last week. “Mr. Hobbs wanted to express to everybody you don’t treat people with mental health that way and he broke down in tears even at the thought of what happened to him.”