Community uproar has been sparked by security footage showing a group of police officers in Georgia hitting a Black man, 41, who was being held in custody. Harry Daniels, a civil rights attorney, claimed that the episode represents yet another instance of malfeasance by the Camden County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia.
Daniels made the sheriff’s office video of the incident from September 3 public. When a cop walks in, it shows Jarrett Hobbs standing in a holding cell and the officer appears to be seizing Hobbs by the neck. When four more officers arrive, one of them starts punching Hobbs in the back of the neck before the other three join in.
North Carolina resident Hobbs was arrested earlier that day for allegedly speeding, operating a vehicle with a suspended license, and in possession of a prohibited narcotic. At the request of Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Keith Higgins, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said on Wednesday that an independent investigation into the “use of force incident” will get underway.
Latoya James, 37, was shot and killed at her house in May 2021 while Camden County detectives and Sheriff Jim Proctor were executing a search warrant related to drugs. Daniels and co-counsel Bakari Sellers revealed in August that they were suing them for $25 million. According to Jacksonville’s ABC affiliate station WJXX, the district attorney’s office opted not to press charges against the deputies involved in that shooting.
Footage of Black man's beating in custody draws outrage, state investigation – ABC News https://t.co/edP564Bf6A
— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) November 17, 2022
Higgins said in a statement about the James case in April that “although any loss of life is always terrible, the officers’ use of force in this instance was justifiable to protect their lives.”
At a press conference on Wednesday, Daniels remarked, “This is not a poor apple, this is a bad apple orchard.”
The news conference was also attended by Hobbs’ two sisters and Timothy Bessent, Sr., president of the Camden County NAACP. The sisters chose not to comment, but Bessent, Sr. spoke about the local NAACP’s ongoing initiatives over the previous two years to improve community-police ties.
“The NAACP of Camden County likes to assert that it respects the law. We want to stand by law enforcement officials and treat everyone with the respect that all people are entitled to “said he. The beating of Jarrett Hobbs and other recently disclosed cases demonstrate how much work has to be done by the sheriff’s office.
Now, Daniels, Sellers, neighborhood residents, and the family of Hobbs are demanding the immediate arrest and dismissal of the accused cops.
At the conference, Sellers stated that there was “simply no reasoning, no explanation, no cause, no disputed question, no legal basis to walk in that cell with a man sitting there and beat him up.” “What they did to him was wrong,” they said.
Daniels stated that Hobbs had requested to be placed in protective confinement on the day of the event because he was “having a psychological disturbance.”
Daniels claims that during the struggle, Hobbs sustained injuries including a chipped tooth, edema, and having one of his dreadlocks yanked out of his head. He claims that despite Hobbs’ quick complaints, he was placed in solitary confinement for roughly two weeks without receiving medical attention.
Hobbs was eventually charged with assault and violence against a police officer, though it is unclear whether any specific event was the cause of the encounter.
According to court documents, Hobbs was freed from Camden County detention on September 30 after posting a bond to all charges. Due to his arrest in Georgia, he is currently being held in North Carolina for breaking the terms of his probation.
Inquiries made to the Camden County Sheriff’s Office for comment have gone unanswered. Over two months after the initial event, Camden County Sheriff Jim Proctor claims in a statement that he ordered an internal probe.
The statement read, “Internal investigations take time, and are not completed overnight. They involve analyzing the footage, asking witnesses, and documenting of material gathered. The Camden County Sheriff’s Office has always been a transparent organization, giving the general public access to all divisional activities.
According to the office, the names of the participating deputies won’t be made public until the inquiry is over.