Three officers who were caught on camera in a widely seen video beating and repeatedly punching a detainee at a jail in Camden County, Ga., have been arrested, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) said Tuesday. The three men: Mason Garrick, 23, of Bryceville, Fl.; Ryan Biegel, 24, of Kingsland, Ga.; and Braxton Massey, 21, of Kingsland, were each charged with one count of battery and one count of violation of public office, the New York Times reports. The arrests came a week after the GBI announced that it would review the beating of Jarrett Hobbs, who, as indicated by videos released by his lawyer, was cornered in his cell on Sept. 3 and surrounded by several jail officers who repeatedly punched him in the head. They had then dragged him from his cell into the hallway and pushed him against a wall, where the beating continued. From the audio, it appears that Hobbs questioned why the guards were hitting him, and he screamed. Hobbs’s lawyer, Harry Daniels, said the beating of a Black man by white officers in the Deep South was reminiscent of “old antebellum, Jim Crow” times.
“This is just the first step toward justice,” Daniels said Tuesday, referring to the arrests. James Bruce, a sheriff's spokesman, said the three officers had been fired. Three videos of the episode show five officers entering Hobbs’s cell, grabbing his face and punching him in the head. In court documents filed in U.S. District Court in North Carolina, F.J. Carney, Hobbs’s probation officer, said Hobbs was kicking the door of his cell before the beating. Carney said Hobbs had resisted the guards and had punched one in the face and another on the side of the head, leaving a guard with a bruised eye and a broken hand. At a news conference GBI director Michael Register, said that investigators had determined that charges against the officers were warranted. “I believe that the majority of men and women who wear a badge in this country truly seek to protect and serve,” he said. “Unfortunately, some discredit the profession, the badge and the oath they swore to uphold."