Three of the five Georgia sheriff’s deputies who beat Jarrett Hobbs, a 41-year-old Black man detained at the Camden County jail, were charged with battery and booked into the same jail after CCTV footage of the attack went viral this week. They either didn’t realize the cameras were running or simply didn’t care. They’ve been named as Mason Garrick, Braxton Massey, and Ryan Biegel.
Security video from that night shows Hobbs standing alone in his cell before five guards rush in and surround him. At least three deputies can be seen landing punches before Hobbs gets dragged from the cell and hurled against a wall.
An attorney for Hobbs released video of the beating last week. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced the next day that it was launching an investigation.
“I appreciate the Georgia Bureau of Investigation assisting our agency with this critical incident that occurred,” Camden County Sheriff Jim Proctor said in a statement. “The arrest of these employees culminates the criminal investigation and ends their employment with The Camden County Sheriff’s Office.”
It’s obvious from the video footage that these law enforcement officers planned the beating: they waited outside the holding cell for a few moments, then poured into it and attacked the plainly unsuspecting inmate. Hobbs had been arrested after a confrontation with a police officer, according to reports.
A relatively minor but significant problem with this case: early local news coverage, showing the public-record video of these public employees beating someone up, anonymized the officers despite being sent the footage by the victim’s lawyer. CNN and other local media ran the uncensored video on air, but the early versions, so crudely-edited that the blows are hidden in a mush of blurring or pixelation, are what you’ll likely find if you search for them. I could only find the uncensored footage as unembeddable segment clips on national news sites or (above) ganked Twitter copies.
We often mock the passive headlines and exonerative language journalists use when writing about potential police misconduct, but I don’t think most Americans have any idea how completely dependent on law enforcement most local media is for content and how meticulously gratiating coverage of law enforcement is as a result.