ATLANTA — Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill pleaded not guilty April 27 after he was indicted by a federal grand jury on four charges of civil rights violations.
Hill turned himself in Tuesday, April 27 and was released after posting bond. Hill was allowed to keep his service weapon and remain on the job, but he must stay within the Northern District of Georgia, leaving only with the judge’s permission.
If convicted, Hill could face a maximum of 10 years in prison for each charge.
The indictment alleges Hill deprived Clayton County Jail detainees of their due process and Constitutional rights when he used a restraint chair as a form of punishment.
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Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt Erskine said the use amounted to “excessive force” and doing so “was unreasonable and unnecessary,” according to the indictment.
FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Christopher Macrae said the FBI is “committed to restoring trust in law enforcement by holding him accountable.”
A restraint chair can be used in the Clayton County Jail to “provide safe containment of an inmate exhibiting violent or uncontrollable behavior and to prevent self-injury, injury to others or property damage when control techniques are not effective.”
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Erskine said Hill allegedly violated the CCSO Inmate Restraint Chair Policy.
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The indictment, filed on April 19, states that four detainees identified by initials only were strapped into a restraint chair “for a period exceeding that justified by any legitimate non punitive government purpose.”
The indictment alleges victim J.A. was ordered into the chair by Hill and left for several hours following an exchange with the sheriff that involved swearing and threats.
Victim C.H. was ordered into the chair via a text message when a Clayton County police officer sent him a photograph of the defendant in cuffs in the back of a squad car. C.H. was allegedly left in the restraint chair for several hours.
Victim J.H., who “was not combative and never posed a threat to anyone,” was placed in the chair and left for several hours during which he was unable to use the restroom. J.H. ended up urinating on the restraint chair.
Both C.H. and J.H. were subjected to swearing, name calling and threats from Hill while in the chairs, according to the indictment.
Victim G.H., too, was allegedly ordered into the chair by Hill after the sheriff confronted G.H. inside the jail. The order was given after G.H. had been interacting with jail employees for more than 30 minutes “during which time he appeared cooperative and compliant.”
In a statement released Tuesday morning, Hill said he will fight the “political motivated” case and continue to “focus on the mission of fighting crime in Clayton County.”
“My legal team are the only ones authorized to speak on the details of this matter, and they are confident about the facts of this case,” Hill said.