SAVANNAH, Ga. — Prosecutors have filed assault, obstruction and other charges against a Georgia prison guard after security camera video showed him being beaten by sheriff’s deputies who entered his cell.
The decision to dismiss charges against 41-year-old Jarrett Hobbs came months after an investigation into the release of video in November led to the arrest of three Camden County deputies on battery charges in the jailhouse beating.
“When the video came out, it was pretty clear that Mr. Hobbs was not the attacker,” Harry Daniels, a civil rights attorney representing Hobbs, said Thursday.
Hobbs of Greensboro, North Carolina, was booked into the coastal Camden County jail for traffic violations and drug possession charges on Sept. 3. Later that day, a security camera recorded deputies charging into Hobbs’ cell and pushing him against a wall before punching him repeatedly. in the head and neck. Another camera recorded Hobbs being pushed against a wall and pinned to the floor.
Hobbs was later charged with aggravated battery, simple assault and obstructing law enforcement officers. A court filing by prosecutors on Tuesday dismissed those charges, citing “insufficient evidence” against Hobbs.
Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Keith Higgins had no further comment on the case, said Cheryl Diprizio, his executive assistant.
Hobbs’ beating in a Georgia prison came to light after federal authorities in North Carolina looked into his arrest in September. They wanted to determine whether Hobbs had violated his probation stemming from his guilty plea in 2014 to charges of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, according to court records.
Hobbs’ attorney first obtained the jailhouse videos in a federal probation case, Daniels said.
Daniels shared the security videos with reporters in November. Sheriff Jim Proctor ordered an internal investigation more than two months after the beating and Hobbs was the only person charged. Higgins, the district attorney, asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to get involved.
The following week, three Camden County deputies were arrested on charges of battery and violating their oath of office. They were also fired. Two others faced disciplinary action but were not charged with crimes.
Hobbs is Black. The three deputies charged are white, according to Captain Larry Bruce, the sheriff’s spokesman.
Hobbs was returned to federal prison after authorities determined he violated the terms of his probation by leaving North Carolina. Daniels said Hobbs’ standing in the federal case should be improved if his charges were dismissed in Georgia.
“He’s eligible for release to a halfway house now because he has no pending charges, which is a big deal,” Daniels said.