Special to DeltaplexNews from JCSO

On February 2, 2024, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint from an employee at the Jack Jones Juvenile Detention Center regarding allegations of incidents of unnecessary uses of force against juvenile detainees by Eric Hobbs, who was at that time serving as the Administrator at the Jack Jones Jefferson County Juvenile Detention Center. These allegations were investigated.

During this investigation it was learned of an incident which occurred on January 11, 2024, where Hobbs deployed oleoresin capsicum, commonly known as pepper spray, against a juvenile detainee. A report of this incident was obtained which was signed by Hobbs as the reporting officer.

Video footage from a camera within the Jack Jones Juvenile Detention Center was obtained regarding this incident. While watching the video of the incident on January 11, 2024, it was determined Hobbs used unnecessary force against the juvenile detainee, spraying the juvenile three separate times with pepper spray, while no signs of a threat to Hobbs could be seen. After comparing Hobbs’s report with the video of the incident it was evident Hobbs was not truthful about the events leading up to the use of force or the amount of times Hobbs used that force. Hobbs was placed on administrative leave pending a review of the incident by the Sheriff’s Office counsel.

On February 16, 2024, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office terminated Hobbs’s employment for violation of the policy and procedures regarding standards of conduct, and use of force. Hobbs was provided documents informing him of his termination and was also provided, by policy, the opportunity to appeal. ¬†Through private counsel Hobbs, on February 22, 2024, waived his rights to appeal.

Sheriff Lafayette Woods, Jr. stated: “The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office remains dedicated to upholding the highest standards of integrity and professionalism in the operation of our detention centers and will continue to take decisive action against those employees who violate our policies or the law. The actions taken by Hobbs do not reflect the policy or training conducted by our agency and do not reflect the expected conduct of our detention staff who are charged with the duty to protect and secure our detainees whether adults or juveniles. These expectations are placed upon every level of our office. No one is above the policy and procedures set forth by my office, or the criminal statues which our state legislature has put in place and our deputies are sworn and commissioned to uphold“.