3 former officers indicted in beating of Georgia jail detainee

In this image made from Camden County, Ga., Detention Center surveillance video provided by attorney Harry Daniels, jailers beat detainee Jarrett Hobbs at the facility in Georgia, Sept. 3, 2022. On Wednesday, May 17, 2023, a grand jury in Georgia indicted three former sheriff’s officers in the beating of Hobbs, a Black jail detainee, that was recorded by security cameras. (Camden County Detention Center/Courtesy of Attorney Harry Daniels via AP, File)

A grand jury in Georgia has indicted three former sheriff’s officers in the beating of a Black jail detainee that was recorded by security cameras.

The indictment handed down Wednesday in coastal Camden County charges ex-deputy Ryan Biegel and former jail officers Braxton Massey and Mason Garrick with misdemeanor counts of battery and simple battery as well as a felony count of violating their oath of office.

The charges stem from the September beating of Jarrett Hobbs, who was jailed after a traffic stop. Security camera video showed the white officers rush into Hobbs’ cell and begin punching him in the head and neck. Another camera recorded Hobbs being hurled against a wall and pinned to the floor.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation began looking into the beating after Hobbs’ attorneys obtained the video footage. In November, all three men were fired after being arrested on the same charges contained in the indictment.

The indictment means a grand jury found sufficient evidence for the case to proceed to trial.

Defense attorneys listed in court records for Garrett and Massey did not immediately respond to email messages seeking comment Thursday. The records did not identify an attorney for Biegel.

Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Keith Higgins in February dropped charges of assault and obstruction filed against Hobbs after the beating. The prosecutor also dismissed the traffic violation and drug possession charges that led to Hobbs being jailed.

At the time of his arrest in Georgia, Hobbs, of Greensboro, North Carolina, was on probation following a 2014 guilty plea to a federal charge of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. Hobbs was returned to federal prison after authorities determined he violated terms of his probation by leaving North Carolina.