Cobb deputy recruit fired, arrested after altercation with inmate

Feb. 6—Cobb Sheriff Craig Owens announced Monday that a deputy recruit has been fired and arrested following an altercation with a Cobb jail inmate over the weekend.

Owens said during a press conference that Jacqun Brown of Austell, a recruit with the sheriff's office, was arrested at 3:15 p.m. Monday for his alleged role in the altercation.

The altercation occurred on Saturday, as the 24-year-old Brown was attempting to move inmate Matthew Cubbage of Smyrna inside Lima Pod, Dorm 3, to deescalate a situation in which Cubbage had caused a disturbance, Owens said.

Jail records indicate Brown is being held at the Cobb County Adult Detention Center without bond, though Owens said during the press conference that Brown is being transported to another facility.

According to a warrant for Brown's arrest, he repeatedly punched and placed Cubbage, 34, in a choke hold. Cubbage was being held at the jail for allegedly trafficking heroin, fentanyl and meth, Owens said.

"There was an exchange of words, and the end result was that the deputy attacked the inmate in a clear violation of all our training, protocols and our policies," Owens said.

Cubbage received cuts, bruises and scratches on his head, shoulders and lower back area, according to Brown's arrest warrant. The entire incident was captured on video inside the dormitory, which Owens said his office will be releasing shortly.

Other jail staff immediately informed Owens of the situation and promptly responded to the incident, he added.

Brown has been charged with misdemeanor battery and felony violation of oath of public office.

"We will not tolerate abuse of power, and we will uphold laws equally and fairly, and that's what I'd like to say we've done today," Owens said.

Cobb District Attorney Flynn Broady thanked Owens for his actions following the incident.

"You see that in the actions of the sheriff, the quickness and the ability to make sure that those bad apples, and might I say this, they are the exception to the rule, our law enforcement here in Cobb County are the best in this country, but when we find those exceptions, we will root them out, and we will hold them accountable," Broady said.

Sally Riddle of the Cobb Coalition for Public Safety, also speaking on behalf of the Cobb chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said both organizations supported Owens' actions.

"Today is a day where, while acknowledging the gravity of the inappropriate treatment of a Cobb County Detention Center detainee, we in the activist community laud the transparency and quick actions taken by the sheriff and his department," Riddle said.

The sheriff's office said Brown was hired in February 2022. Owens explained that Brown was still a recruit and had yet to complete the mandated training for sheriff's deputies when the incident occurred.

Owens also defended his office's hiring practices.

"We have in-depth interview processes, background checks and also that last personal interview, which I'm sitting in on as well to ask specific questions and try to get a gauge of who we're hiring," Owens said. "But you really never know who that person is until you turn the switch on, sometimes, so they can tell you everything that you know in that evaluation period, but then they (may act) different when they're hired."