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Gang of Georgia Prison Guards jump inmate, sheriff to investigate

by Ezekiel J. Walker
Gang of Georgia Prison Guards jump inmate, sheriff to investigate
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Security video from a Georgia jail shows a detainee being forcefully pushed against a wall by guards and repeated punched in the head and neck after five deputies invade the man’s cell. The cell he was attacked in was reserved for those in a mental health crisis.

An attorney for the detainee, 41-year-old Jarrett Hobbs, released the horrific video Monday. Civil rights attorney Harry Daniels said authorities should pursue criminal charges against the sheriff’s deputies in Camden County who swarmed Hobbs, who is Black, after he was booked for traffic violations and drug possession charges Sept. 3.

Daniels said he obtained the video after it was submitted as evidence in the federal probation case.

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

“It’s undeniable that Mr. Hobbs was approached by jailers and he was assaulted, punched multiple times in the back of his head, kneed in his head and dragged out of his cell,” Daniels said. “This is a brutal beating, a brutal attack.”

Of the five guards in the cell, a sole Black prison guard is seen in the back, containing the chaos and watching the one-sided melee unfold as four white men violently and brazenly brutalize another Black man in front of him.

The outrageous video shows Hobbs alone in a cell standing by the door, then turning toward the bed and picking up two objects. His attorney said they were a piece of paper and a sandwich. A guard rushes into the cell and grabs Hobbs around the neck, trying to push him into a corner. Four others come in behind him.

As jailers try to hold Hobbs by his wrists, one of them starts punching Hobbs in the back of the head and neck. The video shows at least two other guards throwing punches. A second video from a camera outside the cell shows jailers drag Hobbs through the open door and hurl him against a wall. A deputy rapidly raises his right knee and foot a few times, though it’s unclear if he was striking Hobbs. The struggle continues until Hobbs, who is out of the camera frame, appears to be pinned on the ground. The entire confrontation lasts about a minute.

Four former Georgia Correctional Officers were sentenced in September for assaults and cover-up

His probation officer, F.J. Carney, who was not present at the Georgia detention center, gave a narrative of the events that happened at the Camden County jail.

“While Defendant was in custody at the CCSO complex in Woodbine, Georgia, jailers heard a large banging from Defendant’s holding cell. Defendant was reportedly kicking his cell door and was told by jailers to stop after already being warned to stop previously,” the court document said.

“Officer Carney testified that Defendant apparently continued this kicking, resulting in the jailers approaching him, giving him verbal commands and putting his hands behind his back. However, Defendant allegedly did not comply and responded to the jailers saying ‘I ain’t doing sh*t.’ After the jailers reportedly continued to give him orders and approached him, Defendant tensed up, pulled away, and a physical altercation between Defendant and jailers ensued,” the document continued.

Sheriff to investigate while not releasing information on attackers

Camden County Sheriff Jim Proctor’s office said in a statement Monday that the sheriff had reviewed the video with members of his command staff and ordered an internal investigation “to begin immediately.” The sheriff’s office did not release any details about the jailers involved, including their races.

According to AP News, Daniels questioned why nothing happened sooner. The confrontation between Hobbs and the jailers happened more than two months ago, and Hobbs was charged with fighting the deputies that same day. Daniels is now calling on the district attorney to bring charges.

A spokesman for the sheriff, Capt. Larry Bruce, declined to answer further questions, including whether the guards involved remained on duty.

Though Hobbs was clearly ambushed and beaten, jail records reveal he was the one charged afterward with aggravated battery, simple assault and obstruction of law enforcement officers.

It’s unclear on the video recordings to what extent Hobbs fought the jailers — if any. In most of the video Hobbs is either obscured by the guards surrounding him or is out of the frame.

His attorney, Daniels, said Hobbs would have been justified to fight back against guards attacking him unlawfully. He said the guard with the broken hand injured himself by punching a wall as he swung at Hobbs.

“The physical wounds have healed the best they can,” Daniels said. “But mentally, no. He thought he was going to die.”

Hobbs remains in custody in North Carolina.

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