Atlanta-area sheriff accused of civil rights violations
An Atlanta-area sheriff has been accused of violating the civil rights of multiple people whom his department arrested, ordering them to be strapped to a chair and left alone for several hours.
An indictment filed against Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill on April 19 was unsealed on Monday, The Associated Press reports, and states that Hill approved a policy that allowed chair restraints to be used with a violent or uncontrollable person if other methods were ineffective.
However, the indictments accuse Hill of allowing chair restraints to be used against people being held in custody for several hours, even when they posed no threat.
Hill called the accusations by the prosecution “a political motivated federal legal case,” the AP reports.
“Today I will begin the process of fighting a political motivated federal legal case. 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 wrote on social media, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
The indictment points to four separate incidents in which Hill restrained people to chairs for long periods of time, including one time in which a man was arrested in February of last year for getting into an argument with two women at a grocery store.
Hill allegedly asked the man what he was doing in Clayton County, to which the man responded, “It’s a democracy, sir. It’s the United States.”
“No, it’s not. Not in my county,” Hill said, according to the indictment.
When the man asked if he was entitled to a fair and speedy trial, Hill responded, “You [are] entitled to sit in this chair, and you’re entitled to get the hell out of my county and don’t come back,” after which the man was left strapped to a chair for several hours on Hill’s orders.
Hill also allegedly ordered a 17-year-old boy to be strapped to a chair after he was accused of vandalizing his parents’ home during an argument. According to the indictment, Hill ordered the chair to be used immediately after learning the boy’s age despite the teen’s compliance with the officers.
The Journal-Constitution reports that a warrant for Hill’s arrest has been issued, though it is unclear whether it will be executed.
The AP notes that Hill is no stranger to controversy, having fired 27 deputies on his first day in office. He was briefly voted out of office in 2008 only to return in 2012. The outlet notes that Hill faced 27 criminal charges in corruption cases at the time of his return to office.
In 2016, the sheriff pleaded no contest to reckless conduct charges for shooting a woman in 2015. Hill claimed it was an accident while practicing police tactics.