Three former Georgia sheriff’s representatives were arrested and charged with allegedly beating a black inmate in a videotaped attack in September that “shocked the conscience,” authorities said Tuesday.
Mason Garrick, 23, Braxton Massey, 21, and Ryan Biegel, 24, were taken into custody and charged with assault and breaches of the oath of office, said Michael Register, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
They had already been released by the Camden County Sheriff’s Office before they were arrested.
“There is a sacred and fragile trust between law enforcement agencies and the communities we serve,” Register told reporters. “That trust must be protected and maintained.”
3 former Georgia sheriff deputies arrested in connection with beating a black inmate
Online records were all three booked at the Camden County Public Safety Complex. They are each held with a bond of $10,000. Information about the lawyer was not available to them.
Register said the surveillance video of the beatings worried him.
When asked whether the prison guards acted inappropriately, the GBI Director answered: “I think that’s why we’re here.”
“As a citizen, my reaction is like any other, it has shocked the conscience,” said Register.
“When you look at the initial measures that have taken place, I think our previous investigation and the district attorney felt that this was a likely reason to arrest three of the people for bodily harm and violation of the oath of office.”
The arrests come a week after inmate Jarrett Hobbs’s lawyers released several videos of lawmakers allegedly beating him in Camden County Jail in Woodbine on September 3.
Hobbs, 41, from Greensboro, North Carolina, was jailed for traffic offenses and possession of a controlled substance. Attorney Harry Daniels said his client was suffering from a “psychological episode” and had asked to be taken into protective custody.
“But instead of protecting him, these MPs ambushed him and punched and kicked him mercilessly like a gang of dangerous thugs,” Daniels said last week.
The videos showed Deputies appearing to hit Hobbs, dragging him out of his cell, hitting him against a wall, and kicking him repeatedly. Daniels said one of Hobbs dreadlocks was ripped off his scalp during the attack.
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What exactly happened before the videos remains unclear. According to federal court documents from last month, Hobbs reportedly kicked his cell phone door and denied MPs’ orders to stop. It was claimed that Hobbs “tensed up, withdrew and there was a physical altercation…” after the deputies entered the cell.
The document goes on to say that Hobbs was hit in the head by an MP, but he was also accused of punching one MP in the face and another in the side of the head. According to court records, one of the MPs had an injured eye and a broken hand.
Daniels told NBC subsidiary WXIA from Atlanta that his customer would have been entitled to fight back because he was unlawfully attacked. He said the Deputy broke his hand by hitting a wall as he swung toward Hobbs.
The incident resulted in the sheriff’s office and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation launching separate investigations.