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Victor victorious

Hill returns to office but could prison be next stop for sheriff?

JONESBORO — Despite facing a 37-felony count indictment and possibly years in prison, Victor Hill is the apparent winner of the Clayton County sheriff’s race, according to unofficial election results available at press time at Tuesday.

With 59 of 60 precincts accounted for, Hill garnered 12,927 votes, or 53.68 percent, compared to Kem Kimbrough’s 11,155, or 46.32 percent. The only votes not included in Tuesday’s totals were the provisional ballots, which can take several days to finalize.

Hill was elected the county’s first black sheriff in 2004 and served one tumultuous term fraught with firings and multi-million dollar lawsuits. When he ran for a second term, he was defeated by Kimbrough in 2008, losing by 686 votes in a run-off. Hill was indicted in January on 37 felony counts related to alleged wrongdoing while in office.

Kimbrough and Hill battled for the office again July 31 but ended up in Tuesday’s run-off when neither got enough votes to win outright.

Now, Hill is apparently back but will he proceed unscathed into office Jan. 1 or face the new year a convicted felon stripped of the right to serve the voters who obviously prefer his brand of leadership?

Kimbrough was obviously crushed by the loss but said he will abide by the will of the voters.

“We gave it our best shot for the last three and a half years and the people have made their decision,” he said. “I respect them and always will.”

Hill said he was humbled and looked forward to getting back to the business of fighting crime.

“Tonight, I am humbled by God and the support of the Clayton County voters and accept their will to serve once again, as sheriff of Clayton County,” he said. “I want to thank the many volunteers, advisors and friends that worked tirelessly over the last few months to make tonight’s victory a reality.”

Not everyone shared in Hill’s celebratory spirit. Atlanta attorney Harlan Miller represented the 27 deputies Hill fired on his first day in office in January 2005. Miller got their jobs back and a multimillion dollar settlement for the group.

“All I can say is that Victor Hill is like a bad ant bed,” said Miller. “Scary to stumble across and hard to get rid of.”

Former Clayton County police Chief Jeff Turner became chairman-elect of the Clayton County Board of Commissioners Tuesday. Turner and Hill worked together when both were Clayton police officers but parted ways once Hill became sheriff and Turner became chief. Hill made it known he wanted to abolish the police department and merge personnel into the sheriff’s office with himself as top law enforcement officer. He famously once signed an email to Turner “Your future employer.”

Although sheriff is a constitutional officer, the position operates under the direction of the Board of Commissioners. Turner said Tuesday he plans to work with Hill in a professional manner.

“We have to all work for the betterment of the people of Clayton County,” said Turner. “I am committed to working together to serve the citizens of Clayton County.”

Attorney Bill Atkins represents Mark Tuggle, the brother of Hill’s predecessor. On Hill’s first day in office in January 2005, Tuggle called Hill and left two messages for him. Tuggle knew many of the men and women Hill had fired and was upset. He left two voice mail messages that Hill interpreted as threats and had him arrested. The charges were thrown out and Tuggle sued Hill in Federal Court.

Tuggle won more than a half-million dollars and Atkins was awarded attorney’s fees. Hill has not paid a cent on the settlement, said Atkins. Atkins predicted more lawsuits if Hill returns to office.

“I am sorry to hear that a majority of Clayton County voters saw fit to return Victor Hill to office,” he said. “I have worked around law enforcement for my entire professional career. I can think of no person less qualified to serve in law enforcement. Clayton County will remain fodder for humor and fertile land for civil rights attorneys.”

Jon Antoine was one of eight candidates vying for the sheriff’s office in the July primary. He lost with about 2 percent of the vote.

“This is a case of the electorate voting against somebody rather than for somebody,” said Antoine.

Other former Hill employees were also indicted on charges related to work in the sheriff’s office, including his former public information officer, Jonathan Newton. Newton said voters were left with a difficult choice in this election.

“Although Hill is indicted, under our system of justice a man is innocent until proven guilty,” said Newton. “It became apparent from the outset that Sheriff Kimbrough intended to use Hill’s criminal indictment as a political tool. In the end, the citizens saw Kimbrough’s attempt to politicize justice as a greater form of corruption than the actions outlined in the indictment. I believe the majority of Clayton County citizens now know that Kem Kimbrough is just as corrupt as Victor Hill.”

Hill’s attorney, Steve Frey, said Tuesday night that he is happy with his client’s victory.

“I’m extremely pleased for him,” said Frey. “We’ve got a lot of work to do and we plan to be as successful as the election.”

There is no trial date set yet but Hill returns to court for motions Sept. 10 as sheriff-elect and with a goal to get his case heard as quickly as possible — under the theory he will be exonerated. If convicted of one felony, Hill cannot hold office and the governor will have to appoint an interim sheriff.

“We are preparing to try the case and we know we will try the case sooner than we would have had he lost,” said Frey.

Hill’s focus Tuesday night was getting back in office and taking back the streets.

“As promised, I want to advise those who prey on others by breaking into homes, robbing businesses and drug trafficking to stop or leave Clayton while you still can,” he said. “Your presence is not wanted and your lawlessness will not be tolerated. I want to thank everyone once again. May God bless you all and may God bless Clayton County.”

Comments

wasoncethere 2 years, 1 month ago

at least one good thing comes from this joke....little vic will have a job now so all those he owed money too like Mark Tuggle will be able to garnish his CCSO salary

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Rman 2 years, 1 month ago

Well it appears that Clayton voters have forgotten just how much Victor Hill cost us in lost lawsuits. Now we will have to watch in horror as he runs the Sheriff's Department into the ground again. On the positive side the locals news organizations will have plenty of content for the next 4 years as Victor stumbles and bumbles around like the amatuer he is not to mention the interesting fireworks we can expect between Vic and Jeff Turner. With any luck we will soon wake to find find Victor is an inmate rather than the Sheriff, Depressingly Amazing.

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OscarKnight 2 years ago

....."Victor victorious"

.......Not quite yet, Ha, Ha

.......Other than beating the rap on the "37 count indictment".........Victor has to regain his P.O.S.T. certification, which was suspended until after his trial. If Hill is found not guilty; Waiting for the P.O.S.T. certification to happened might take awhile.

......Even though Hill might be found non guilty in a court of law, P.O.S.T has their own requirements.

......The only thing that I see that Victor has done, was to defeat Kem Kimbrough in a runoff election; The Folks of Clayton County should be looking for a New Sheriff.

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gapeech 2 years ago

I hope you are right my friend. I sit here in disbelief that the people of CC would elect this man again. I have read all the articles listen to the so called debates and heard nothing. I was more appalled at the behavior than anything. Will he take office in January? I hope not but we live in a CC now that elects folks like this. Ihave lived here for 40 plus years, worked here raised my children here and so sad to say that maybe it is time to go. WHen you are afraid the people who are suppose to protect you more that the thugs then its time.

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OscarKnight 2 years ago

QUOTE : "Hill’s focus Tuesday night was getting back in office and taking back the streets"

.......Like His Deputies preying on Grandmothers, while Christmas Shopping with their Grandchildren. Or His Deputies hiding behind bushes and setting up traps on four way stop signs. Or posting his Deputies at the Voting Polls at City Elections. Or Random Searches of motor vehicles, around our county. Or Hanging Billboards around our county, with his picture looming over us, with his Warnings !!!

.......For Victor's information, This is not Your County, Not By A Long Shot, and It is not over until the "Fat Lady Sings".

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intheknow1 2 years ago

Even if Victor Hill ever regains his POST certification and can actually serve as the Sheriff, how many more millions of taxpayer dollars in suits and waste (there was a lot of that last time) will taxpayers be left with in footing the bill. Ignorance is bliss, those whom voted for Victor Hill must be ecstatic!

From an area outsider looking in

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GAgranny2003 2 years ago

Hill is not my choice by any means. I would have voted for the neighbors dog before voting for him. I feel so disappointed in the Clayton County voters this morning. If I could pack up and leave this county I would but that is unfortunately easier said than done.

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OscarKnight 2 years ago

....We have to be opportunistic about this; Clayton County has Regained It's Shameless Reputation. Enjoy !!!!!

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JuanitaC 2 years ago

I still can not wrap my head around what has happen. To think something like this would happen is shameful but I am only just one vote. God Bless Us All. Never been ashamed of where I lived before but now.....

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DE 2 years ago

One reason Victor Hill lost the last election in 2008 was for the untold number of warrants his office failed to to serve. I guess those that didn't get served their warrants voted him back in knowing that he's soft on crime.

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kj1188 2 years ago

What has happe4ned to the people of Clayton County that they would put Hill back into Office after all the controversy over him and his people. Has everyone that voted for him gone MAD!!

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imdink 2 years ago

I cannot belive that Clayton County voted this self promoting person back into office! That shows the pride that some people have for their home. I just pray that he is found guilty on every count that he has been charged with!

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Moderato58 2 years ago

It's a shame to be embarrassed again. Such a laughing stock..All eyes will be on Clayton County in months to come.

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Moderato58 2 years ago

What an embarrassment for Clayton County again!

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OscarKnight 2 years ago

..DE; Victor was too busy having his Flunky Deputies Gouging Grandmothers out of their money, while the women was Christmas shopping with their Grandchildren. His Flunky Deputies was also spending most of their time creating harassment Road Blocks, parked behind bushes, trapping motorists, speeding around our streets, and wasting our tax monies.

.....Kem is no prize, either. We have been running dry on good candidates in this county, and from what I have seen, we have hit dirt bottom in 2012.

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LTB 2 years ago

Apparently, Clayton County feels it is acceptable for their public officials to take vacations and pay their personal expenses on the taxpayer's dime. They would rather "punish" Kem Kimbrough for having to investigate the allegations as a "political" maneuver than to punish Victor for the allegations. I pay sales taxes, property taxes, tag taxes, state and federal taxes. I don't appreciate ANY public official abusing my hard earned tax dollars to pay their personal expenses. If YOU are okay with it, then start writing checks for them out of your own accounts and STOP taking them out of the taxes being paid in this county. And while it isn't over until the fat lady sings, I don't believe for one minute Victor will be convicted because quite frankly, we are too stupid to look at the mountain of evidence and draw the logical conclusion. If Victor was truly remorseful, he'd admit what he has done and find a way to pay back the money he took from this county. Instead, we are going to either have to support him financially with a paycheck as Sheriff or as taxpayers footing the bill for his prison stay. Way to go, Clayton County!

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Lunchman 2 years ago

It is hard to believe that over 12,000 people have been tricked by his antics. But you have to remember, has not yet been elected. That will come in November and everyone, not just the democrats, will be voting. Also remember that there is a place to write in a choice. Just spell Kem Kimbrough's name right. And I agree with Oscar Knight. I am not voting for Kem. I am voting against Hill.

Clayton County has been the laughing stock of Georgia for years and now reelecting Hill is just icing on the cake. An I am tired of eating this type of sweets. Victor Hill is Clayton County's version of Washington DC's Marion Barry.

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Robert 2 years ago

It is a hugh gamble but a lot of the people that voted for Victor are now hoping that he will be convicted on at least one of these 37 charges and force a special election to name a new Sheriff. If this gamble doesn't work and Victor actually takes office then it will be a very costly battle between Turner and Hill. Turner, by the way, isn't going to be the saving grace for Clayton County but I hope he hears the voices of the people that we have been taxed enough and that overwhelmingly the citizenship of Clayton does not want to be connected to Marta buses or by train.

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DE 2 years ago

If Victor Hill is convicted on even one of the charges against him and causes the county to hold a special election to fill his post, he should be forced to pay the cost of the special election.

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OscarKnight 2 years ago

.....Have Hope for The Best Outcome.....In the meantime, enjoy the free media bath.

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JCAL 1 year, 11 months ago

The disgrace that the police force of Clayton County reaches far beyond the county lines. Everyone is aware of the corruption and no one wants to go there for much of anything. The police are agressive, overzealous and are driving people away. Its simply not good for business and sooner rather than later if the cistien living there do not root out this cancer there wont be much of anything left.

I will never drive into that county again a day in my life.

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