Prosecutor calls for criminal investigation after video shows corrections officers beating black man while in custody




CNN

A North Carolina man’s attorney is calling for a criminal investigation into why his client, a 41-year-old black man, was beaten while in custody at the Camden County, Georgia, Detention Center in September.

In a news release, civil rights attorney Harry Daniels says his client Jarrett Hobbs was “mercilessly beaten” by officers at the detention center.

Video provided to CNN by Daniels shows Hobbs alone in a cell at the detention center. In the video, five officers can be seen entering Hobbs’ cell, and one grabs Hobbs by the neck. During a struggle inside the room, at least four officers can be seen struggling with Hobbs, hitting some officers in the head. A second video released by his lawyers shows Hobbs being pulled from the cell and officers can be seen wrestling him to the ground. The video appears to show at least one officer kicking Hobbs. Four of the five officers appear to be white; the other looks Black.

A video provided by Daniels has no audio, and it is unclear what happened before what is seen in the videos.

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

Daniels told CNN there is a third video from a different angle, including audio of the altercation. Daniels said they are not releasing that video at this time, and while it doesn’t show the altercation, you can hear the interaction between Hobbs and the officers.

In the release, Daniels said Hobbs was suffering a psychological episode in prison and asked to be placed on protective custody.

In a statement, the Camden County Sheriff’s Office said: “Sheriff [Jim] Proctor has ordered an internal investigation into the incident to begin immediately. This investigation will include all video recorded from the inmate’s entry into the facility on September 3, 2022 through his release on September 30, 2022. If deemed necessary another agency will assist in the investigation.”

“Internal investigations involve video review, interviewing witnesses and documenting recovered evidence, which takes time and is not completed overnight,” the statement added. He did not release the names of the officers involved. CNN reached out to the sheriff’s office for more details, but did not hear back.

Hobbs violated his parole in a federal case in North Carolina for being in Georgia, where he was charged with speeding, driving with a revoked or suspended license and possession of a controlled substance, Daniels said.

In North Carolina court documents related to his parole revocation, FJ Carney, who was not held at the Georgia Detention Center, recounted the events that took place in the Camden County Jail.

“While the defendant was being held at the CCSO complex in Woodbine, Georgia, jailers heard a loud bang coming from the defendant’s cell. The defendant reported kicking his cell door and was told by jailers to stop after being warned to stop beforehand,” the court document states.

“Officer Carney testified that the defendant apparently continued this kicking, resulting in the jailers approaching him, giving verbal commands and placing his hands behind his back. However, the defendant allegedly did not comply and replied to the jailers, “I’m not doing anything.”” after continuing to issue commands and approaching him, the defendant became tense, pulled away, and a physical altercation occurred between the defendant and the inmates,” the document continues.

“According to Officer Carney, the defendant confronted the jailers and then punched a deputy in the head while punching another deputy. One deputy suffered a bruised eye and a broken hand as a result of the incident. Officer Carney noted that the report reflected the defendant’s involvement in correctional officers. one hit him in the head, although Officer Carney does not know the exact sequence of events,” he said.

Daniels is asking the district attorney to press charges.

CNN has reached out to the District Attorney for comment on the case and has not heard back.

Hobbs is in custody in North Carolina, his attorney said. Some of the information in this report was provided by CNN contributor Bakari Sellers, who is representing Hobbs in this case.