What we’ve learned about Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill is that nothing really works.
Special Clayton County Edition
The sign at Clayton County’s Jail
Yesterday, the Department of Justice unsealed an indictment against Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill alleging four counts of misusing a restraint chair in the jail. According to the allegations, Sheriff Hill used the restraint chair to punish people he didn’t like, one of which was a 17-year-old teenager. In another instance, Hill arrested a landscaper in a dispute with one of Hill’s deputies. He put him in the restraint chair for hours.
In yet another instance, Hill arrested a man accused of “assaulting” two women in line at the grocery store who were arguing. The man, called “J.A.” in the indictment told Sheriff Hill, “It’s a democracy sir. It’s the United States.”
According to the indictment:
Defendant HILL snapped back “No, it’s not. Not in my county.
12. When J.A. asked whether he was entitled to a fair and speedy trial, Defendant HELL replied, "Roll that chair around here. You stay out of Clayton County, you understand me? You sound like a dummy."[Note: Hill is referring to the restraint chair.]
13. When J.A. again asked whether he was entitled to a fair and speedy trial, Defendant HILL replied, "You entitled to sit in this chair, and you're entitled to get the hell out of my county and don t come back. That s what you're entitled to. You sound like a damn jackass. Don't you ever put your hand on a woman like that again. You're fortunate that wasn't my mother or grandmama or you wouldn't be standing there. Now, sit there and see if you can get some damn sense in your head."
Restraint chairs are not supposed to be used for punishment; their intent is to restrain people who might be a danger to themselves or others. They are wheeling chairs where people are strapped at their arms, legs, and torso. Maurice Chammah has written about how dangerous they are — at least 20 deaths in the past six years.
These complaints against Sheriff Hill are really the tip of the iceberg. He’s run a dangerous jail for a long time, putting people detained there at risk for COVID-19, depriving people of basic necessities, and jamming 3 people into 2-person cells. Hill has generally been proud of his efforts, calling his jail the “Hillton” (har har) and extolling the importance of military-like discipline. (He calls his jail, inexplicably, a “paramilitary jail.” It’s just a regular county jail.)
A few years ago, Hill was also arrested for shooting a female date in the stomach when he was allegedly showing her some police tactical moves. He was also indicted, and acquitted, of racketeering. Hill is also known for pretending to be Batman (he calls himself “the crime fighter” in the third person), forcing people in the jail to sing songs in his praise, and requiring compulsory physical exercises.
Gotham or Clayton County?
The Georgia Sheriffs’ Association has tried to ask the Georgia governor to remove the sheriff before. Under Georgia law, sheriffs are removed only at the instigation of the Governor, who essentially moves to open an investigation that is conducted by two other Georgia sheriffs and the Attorney General. The committee then makes a recommendation that the Governor may or may not follow. If the Governor recommends removal, the county district attorney brings the removal proceedings. According to a 2017 story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia’s governors have been generally loath to open investigations into sheriffs. Again, in 2017, the sheriffs said:
The sheriffs’ group is hoping it will beat the odds and win Hill’s removal. “We’re the sheriffs. We’re the ones who put people in jail for doing wrong,” said Georgia Sheriffs’ Association President Howard Sills, the sheriff in Putnam County.
Didn’t work out, I guess.
It’s axiomatic at this point that sheriffs tend to be difficult to remove when they break the law, and, even when they are indicted, difficult to prosecute. The reality is that sheriffs aren’t above the law. They are the law. If we’ve all learned anything over the past year, it’s that change won’t come from indicting and prosecuting law enforcement. Using their tactics against them won’t work. We have to eliminate these offices entirely — because of the historical harm they have caused and because of the harm and violence they continue to do today.
Enjoy Sheriff Victor Hill and the swan, which is not symbolic at all.
He's an evil, hateful RACIST- let's not forget to mention how he rounded up over 25 WHITE employees on his first day on the job & fired them. This piece of excrement is a TYRANT. Word has been that he was "good friends" with Al Sharpton & that's how he was able to escape from being held responsible for all of his illegal, terroristic behaviors in the past. To be honest, this is what happens when you have a large group of people who vote based on "identity politics". Do some research on what that county USED to be like before being invaded- it was practically crime free, clean & very safe. It disgusts me as to what has become of it now. It mind as well be incorporated into that hellhole, Atlanta.