Georgia sheriff found guilty of violating detainees’ civil rights, court documents show



CNN

The sheriff of a county outside Atlanta pleaded guilty Wednesday to six federal counts of violating the civil rights of people in jail, court documents show.

Convicted Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill was found guilty of six of seven felony counts in a 2021 indictment in which he ordered detainees to be restrained in a chair “and left there for hours,” according to a 2021 indictment, which he also said was four. Separate events in 2020.

Restraint chairs are sometimes used in prisons and hospitals to control those who may injure themselves or others. Hill’s orders “caused physical pain and bodily injury” to the detainees, court documents state.

The only not guilty count was for alleged bodily harm inflicted while incarcerated on a person identified as “JH,” according to court records.

CNN has reached out to Hill’s attorney, Drew Findling, for comment on the ruling. CNN has reached out to the governor’s and sheriff’s offices for a statement.

Hill was tried in April 2021 and pleaded not guilty. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp suspended Hill from office in June 2021 pending the outcome of the federal trial, he said.

Hill was first elected Clayton County sheriff in 2004 and lost a re-election bid four years later. He won re-election in 2012 and was last re-elected last year as an unopposed candidate.

His tenure as sheriff has not been without controversy, with activists and critics saying he felt he abused his powers. On his first day in office in 2005, he fired 27 deputies and pulled them out of their building because snipers were stationed outside, according to CNN affiliate WSB-TV. The courts intervened and the MPs were later reinstated.

In 2013, he was acquitted of more than two dozen charges of using the office for personal gain, according to the WSB.

In 2015, Hill fired a gun that struck and injured a friend at his workplace in Gwinnett County, according to CNN affiliate WXIA-TV. The victim told authorities the shooting was accidental and Hill continued as sheriff.

And in 2020, the Clayton County Sheriff’s Department was involved in an excessive use of force incident, which the department said was the subject of an internal investigation requested by Hill. The deputy in question was fired shortly thereafter.