Former Clayton County Sheriff, Victor Hill, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison on Tuesday for civil rights charges relating to his treatment of incarcerated individuals.
According to WSBTV, Hill was found guilty on six counts in October 2022, after prosecutors argued that he ordered detainees to be strapped into a restraint chair for hours causing physical pain and injury.
Hill’s use of restraint chairs, which are designed to control those who could injure themselves or others, was deemed excessive and abusive by the court.
The former sheriff was sentenced to 18 months in prison followed by six years of supervised release and 100 hours of community service.
Defense attorney Drew Findling criticized the prosecution, stating that the Department of Justice had chased a “shiny object” in prosecuting Hill rather than addressing deeper issues in the prison system, such as the use of solitary confinement. He also added that he plans to appeal the case.
Hill was indicted two years ago on federal civil rights charges for directing his staff at the Clayton County Jail to strap pretrial detainees into a restraint chair for an excessive period in four separate incidents in 2020. Hill had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Hill has had a controversial career as a law enforcement officer, aspiring to the image of a tough-on-crime administrator who activists and critics have felt has abused his powers.
In 2005, his first day in office, he fired 27 deputies and had them escorted out of their building as snipers were positioned outside.
In 2013, he was acquitted on more than two dozen charges alleging he had used the office for personal gain, and in 2015, he fired a pistol that struck and wounded a friend at her workplace. Despite the victim claiming the shooting was accidental, Hill continued his tenure as sheriff.
A special election is scheduled for March 21 to elect Hill’s replacement as sheriff.