Victim ID’d in ‘racially motivated’ attack at Clayton County jail

Carlos Zegarra-Arroyo was identified as a victim in an attack at the Clayton County jail.

Credit: Family Photo

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Carlos Zegarra-Arroyo was identified as a victim in an attack at the Clayton County jail.

Credit: Family Photo

Credit: Family Photo

The victim in what the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office called a “racially motivated” attack at the county jail this month has been identified by his family’s attorney.

Carlos Zegarra-Arroyo, 44, was brutally beaten by his cellmate Nov. 19 because of the “color of his skin,” according to the sheriff’s office. The suspect, Jacquez Jackson, allegedly stated several times that he didn’t like Mexican/Hispanics and wanted to kill them, deputies said.

In a statement obtained Wednesday, Derek Rajavuori, the attorney for Zegarra-Arroyo’s family, called the killing “another preventable result of the ongoing humanitarian crisis” at the jail. It also asked Sen. Jon Ossoff to investigate the facility.

“Carlos’ family and friends are devastated,” the statement added.

Jackson, who was in jail for violating his probation from an earlier assault, is now facing additional charges of murder, malice murder, aggravated assault and starting a penal riot. He is accused of punching and kicking Zegarra-Arroyo and slamming his head against a toilet during the attack, the sheriff’s office said.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

In April 2022, he was sentenced to one year in jail and four years of probation following an incident in which he was charged with simple battery, simple assault, criminal trespass, battery, terroristic threats and obstruction of an officer, the sheriff’s office said.

After his probation was revoked last month, he was sentenced to one year in prison and was “awaiting acceptance from Georgia Department of Corrections,” deputies said.

Both the county medical examiner and the GBI have been contacted, according to the sheriff’s office. The killing remains under investigation.

A GoFundMe page organized to help the family with financial needs had raised more than $4,900 as of Wednesday afternoon.

“Charlie was a beloved son, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend,” the fundraiser stated. “His presence was a gift, and his memory will forever be etched in our hearts.”

Rajavuori said they intend to seek justice for Zegarra-Arroyo and his family. He had been in jail after being charged with two counts of unlawful removal of baggage/cargo from terminal, according to online records. The incident took place at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

“The legal system failed them on multiple fronts,” the statement said. “Like many of the people detained in Georgia’s jail system, Carlos was awaiting trial on non-violent charges at the time of his death. Because he was unable to pay his $12,000 bond, he was forced to sit in pretrial detention for nearly two years. He had not been convicted of a crime and was entitled to the presumption of innocence, a fundamental human right enshrined in both the United States and Georgia constitutions.

“The Constitution also imposes a duty upon jails and penal institutions to protect those in their custody from threats to their lives and safety, including violence from other detainees. Tragically, the system failed Carlos in this regard.”

— Please return to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for updates.

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