A video has been released showing the beating of a Black man by a group of sheriff’s deputies at a Camden County jail. According to The Associated Press, the county sheriff ordered an internal investigation into the incident after the man’s attorney argued criminal charges should be pressed against the guards.
Jarrett Hobbs, 41, was booked in early September for traffic violations and drug possession, the report says. Federal court records say Hobbs was kicking at his cell door. The guards entered after he refused their orders to stop. In the video, Hobbs is standing in his cell, turning to pick up something when a guard rushes inside and grabs Hobbs by the neck. Four others bum rushed inside the cell (which could barely hold two people) and began punching Hobbs repeatedly.
In another video, Hobbs is seen being dragged through the cell door, thrown against the wall and being hit with their knees. Attorney Harry Daniels alleges one of Hobbs’ dreadlocks was ripped, per CBS47 News. After what seemed like getting jumped by the guards, Hobbs was the one who ended up with charges: aggravated battery, simple assault and obstruction of law enforcement officers.
More on the incident from AP News:
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.
His attorney, Daniels, said Hobbs would have been justified to fight back against guards attacking him unlawfully. He said the guard with the broken hand injured himself by punching a wall as he swung at Hobbs.
“This video is undeniable and the deputies’ actions are inexcusable. Mr. Hobbs entered the Camden County Jail suffering 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,” said Daniels in a statement, per CBS47.
Camden County Sheriff Jim Proctor’s office released a statement announcing an immediate internal investigation which will include the review of all security footage leading up to the alleged attack.
The incident is almost two months old. The sheriff’s office wouldn’t be so urgent if the security footage wasn’t released and subject to public scrutiny. I’m sure the guards thought they could go back to business as usual. How many other detainees were subject to the same treatment?
More from The Root