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3 Camden County deputies- accused of beating jail detainee-arrested, fired

Jarrett Hobbs' attorneys said the arrests are the first step toward justice.

GEORGIA, USA — Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents have arrested three Camden County Sheriff's deputies after video surfaced showing them beating a jail detainee.

GBI Director Mike Register said that the District Attorney in Camden County asked the GBI last week to investigate the September 3 beating, and Register announced the arrests Tuesday at GBI headquarters in DeKalb County.

Register said each of the deputies is being charged with two felonies-- battery and violation of their oath of office. He identified them as 23-year-old Mason Garrick, 21-year-old Braxton Massey and 24-year-old Ryan Biegel.

The Camden County Sheriff's office confirmed in a news release Tuesday that all three deputies were fired prior to their arrests. They are currently being held at the Camden County Public Safety Complex.

“This is just the first step toward justice. Convictions and imprisonment are the final acts,” said Harry Daniels, one of Hobbs' attorneys. Hobbs' legal team has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the incident.

In the initial security video, released by Hobbs' attorneys, deputies are seen repeatedly punching Hobbs in the neck and head. Hobbs was alone in his cell before jailers held Hobbs' wrists while three other deputies punched him. A second video released later, which came from a camera in the hallway immediately outside of Hobbs' cell, shows the jailers dragging Hobbs out through the cell door and throwing him against the wall in the hallway.

"My reaction [to the video] was like anyone else, it shocked the conscious," Director Register said Tuesday. "But I've also been in law enforcement long enough to understand that we have to stop, take a knee and look at the facts and and put everything into context... I think our investigation thus far (has established), and the district attorney (agreed), that there was probable cause to make an an arrest on three of the individuals for battery and violation of oath of office."

Hobbs had been booked into the Camden County jail on Sept. 3 for speeding, driving on a suspended or revoked license and possessing an illegal drug.

Federal court records in North Carolina, where Hobbs was on probation for a 2014 federal criminal conviction, say guards entered Hobbs' cell because he was repeatedly kicking his door and refusing orders to stop. GBI officials said Tuesday that they interviewed Hobbs in North Carolina to get more information on what happened.

Hobbs was released from Camden County jail on Sept. 30. He is now being held in a North Carolina jail.

Hobbs' attorney, Harry Daniels, said Hobbs, 41, had been experiencing mental health problems, did not have his medication in his cell, but posed no threat to the deputies.

And Daniels said he is gathering evidence for a possible investigation into additional excessive-use-of-force type violations by other deputies against additional inmates at the Camden County jail.

"I assure you, this is not an isolated incident," Daniels said. "We have multiple cases. Multiple people came forward. We have video evidence. We have photographic evidence, affidavit statements. This is not an isolated incident. This was the incident that was captured on video and was released to the public. It's more to come."

"You know, there is a sacred and fragile trust that exists between law enforcement and the communities that we serve," Register said. "I believe that the majority of men and women who wear a badge in this country truly seek to protect and serve. Unfortunately, some discredit the profession, the badge and the oath they swore to uphold. This is why we're standing here today."

The GBI said the investigation is still active and more arrests are possible.


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