CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. – Following an investigation that involved the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Camden County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday announced the arrests of three employees they said were involved in the beating of a 41-year-old inmate inside the county jail.
Videos that depicted the incident were said to have been recorded Sept. 3. Attorneys who represent the inmate, identified as Jarrett Hobbs, called for the investigation after they released the videos to the public Nov. 14.
“This video is undeniable and the deputies’ actions are inexcusable,” attorney Harry Daniels said in a previous statement. “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...”
According to the Sheriff’s Office, Corporal Corrections Officer Mason Garrick, Deputy Braxton Massey and Deputy Ryan Biegel were charged with battery of an inmate and violating the oath of office.
“Braxton Massey has been employed 6 months, Mason Garrick 18 months, and Ryan Biegel 3 years with the Sheriff’s Office,” the news release states. “All three have been booked into the Camden County Public Safety Complex. The Sheriff’s Office Internal Investigation terminated their employment with The Camden County Sheriff’s Office prior to the arrest.”
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The Sheriff’s Office said two other employees involved face disciplinary actions resulting from the findings of the internal investigation.
Sheriff Jim Proctor said in a prepared statement: “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.”
A statement Tuesday from Daniels reads in part: “This is just the first step toward justice. Convictions and imprisonment are the final acts.”
Another attorney in the case, Bakari Sellers, also released a statement that reads: “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, Daniels released a letter that was sent to the Justice Department, asking for the DOJ Civil Rights Division to investigate whether the beating was racially motivated as a hate crime. He said he suspects his client’s case isn’t the only injustice occurring at the jail.
“This is not a one-off incident,” Daniels said in an interview with News4JAX. “Since this story broke, multiple people came forth. And these are valid claims. I mean, you can imagine the claims that we get all the time, phone calls we get across the nation.”
One of those cases, according to Daniels, involves a former sergeant at the jail -- who claims she was wrongfully terminated for flagging what she perceived as excessive and unnecessary force against inmates.
News4JAX has learned the jail faces at least two lawsuits alleging excessive force of other inmates. Civil rights lawyers say the jail is plagued with a culture of violence. Daniels wants the Department of Justice to investigate what he perceives as valid claims.
“And when I say valid claims, I’m talking about video, injuries, a lot of litigation, and some things you cannot explain,” Daniels said. “You can’t explain a how a middle aged man goes inside a jail with no injuries, and it looked like somebody put him through a gauntlet. And those stories are coming out, you know, out of fear retaliation. A lot of those people are afraid.”
As of Tuesday, the three people arrested are out on bond.