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

The sheriff of a suburban Atlanta county was found guilty Wednesday of six federal counts of violating the civil rights of incarcerated people, court documents show.

Suspended Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill was found guilty on six of the seven counts against him related to incidents where he ordered detainees be strapped into a restraint chair “and left there for hours,” according to a 2021 indictment, which also claimed there were four separate incidents in 2020.

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

The sole not guilty count was for alleged physical pain caused to a person identified as “J.H.” while they were incarcerated, court records read.

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

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

Hill was first elected as Clayton County sheriff in 2004 and lost a reelection bid four years later. He won in 2012 to return to the position and most recently was reelected last year as an unopposed candidate.

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

In 2013, he was acquitted on more than two dozen charges alleging he had used the office for personal gain, according to WSB.

In 2015, Hill fired a pistol that struck and wounded a friend at her workplace in Gwinnett County, according to CNN affiliate WXIA-TV. The victim told authorities the shooting was accidental and Hill continued his tenure 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 subject to an internal investigation requested by Hill. The deputy in question was fired shortly after.

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