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Georgia sheriff investigating after jail guards seen punching inmate on video

A Georgia sheriff on Monday announced an investigation into an incident seen on security video that shows five guards swarming an inmate inside his cell and punching him multiple times in the head.

Camden County Sheriff Jim Proctor’s office ordered an internal investigation into the Sept. 3 incident involving five correction officers and the detainee, 41-year-old Jarrett Hobbs, “to begin immediately.” 

Civil rights attorney Harry Daniels, who is representing Hobbs, released the video Monday.

“It’s undeniable that Mr. Hobbs was approached by jailers and he was assaulted, punched multiple times in the back of his head, kneed in his head and dragged out of his cell,” Daniels said. “This is a brutal beating, a brutal attack.”

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The video shows Hobbs alone in a cell and turning toward the bed to pick up two objects. His attorney said they were a piece of paper and a sandwich. A guard rushes into the cell and grabs Hobbs around the neck, trying to push him into a corner. Four others come in behind him.

Jailers can be seen trying to hold Hobbs against the wall when one of them starts punching Hobbs in the back of the head and neck. The video shows at least two other guards throwing punches. 

A second video from a camera outside the cell shows jailers drag Hobbs through the open door and hurl him against a wall. One guard can be seen raising his knee and foot, though it was unclear whether he struck Hobbs.

The struggle continues until Hobbs, who is out of the camera frame, appears to be pinned on the ground. The entire confrontation lasts about a minute.

A judge’s order Oct. 20 said a probation officer testified that Hobbs had “punched one deputy in the face while punching another deputy in the side of the head. One deputy sustained a bruised eye and a broken hand as a result of the incident.” It also noted that Hobbs was punched in the head and that the probation officer was “unaware of the exact sequence of events.”

It’s unclear on the video recordings to what extent Hobbs fought the jailers. In most of the video Hobbs is either obscured by the guards surrounding him or is out of the frame.

Hobbs, who is Black, had been booked for traffic violations and drug possession charges on Sept. 3. He was charged with fighting the deputies that same day.

The sheriff’s office did not release any details about the jailers involved.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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