THE THIN BLUE LINE
This is a follow-up to Georgia Sheriff Opens Investigation
Security footage released by Hobbs’s lawyer showed Hobbs standing alone in his cell when at least five guards entered. Three officers could be seen punching Hobbs in the head before dragging him out and throwing him against a wall, where officers continued beating him.
Mason Garrick, Braxton Massey and Ryan Biegel were “charged with battery of an inmate and violating the oath of office”, the sheriff’s office said. All three were released on $10,000 bond but were also terminated. At least two other officers were facing disciplinary action, the sheriff’s office said.
Harry Daniels, a lawyer for Hobbs, said the beating of a Black man carried out by white officers was reminiscent of the “old antebellum, Jim Crow” era, the New York Times reported. Daniels also said the charges against the officers were “just the first step toward justice … Convictions and imprisonment are the final acts.”
Hobbs was being held for a traffic violation and on drug possession charges.
Sheriff Jim Proctor said in a news release, “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.”
While speaking about the investigation, GBI Director Michael Register said he was “shocked” when he saw the video. “As a citizen, my reaction was like anyone else … you know it shocked the conscience. 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 put everything into context,” Register said.
Hobbs is being represented by AttorneysHarry Daniels and Bakari Sellers. Daniels said the following in a news release after the arrests: “The GBI launched their investigation and arrested these violent thugs just days after learning what happened. 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. This is just the first step toward justice. Convictions and imprisonment are the final acts.”
“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.”
Harry Daniels, an Atlanta-based civil rights attorney who shared the video on Twitter this month, called for prosecutors to “bring charges immediately.” He said Hobbs was suffering from 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 like a gang of dangerous thugs.”
Hobbs’ attorneys said they also sent a letter to the Justice Department requesting that federal authorities investigate whether their client’s civil rights were violated and if the jailers potentially committed a hate crime. Hobbs is Black. The three deputies arrested Tuesday are white.