Controversial sheriff gets 18 months in prison for excessively strapping detainees into restraint chairs

Former Clayton County, Georgia, Sheriff Victor Hill was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for violating the civil rights of detainees who were awaiting trial, according to CNN.

Hill was found guilty in October 2022 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on six counts, with prosecutors claiming that he ordered detainees to be strapped into restraint chairs and left there for significant periods of time, causing harm to the victims. Hill pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The excessive restraint allegedly took place over four separate incidents in 2020, when the incarcerated victims were strapped in for hours, which “caused physical pain and resulted in bodily injury,” according to court documents.

U.S. District Judge Eleanor Ross sentenced Hill to 18 months in prison followed by six years of supervised release, along with 100 hours of community service.

The ruling was made despite the fact that in 2016, a federal judge ruled in favor of a Georgia sheriff from Gwinnett County, Sheriff Butch Conway, for using restraint chairs for unruly inmates. In this matter it was determined that no constitutional violations had occurred, and all claims were dismissed.

Hill’s attorney said that the Department of Justice was chasing a “shiny object” rather than addressing deeper issues with the prison system.

“The fact that he has been singled out, to us, still remains somewhat of a disgrace,” the lawyer said.

The former sheriff originally won election in 2004, but lost in 2008, only to be re-elected in 2012. Hill ran unopposed in 2020 and kept his position, from which he has since been removed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp after the indictment.

Hill has had a checkered past, according to reports by CNN, having fired 27 deputies his very first day in office, reportedly escorting the policemen out of the building with snipers positioned outside. The deputies were later reinstated.

In 2015, Hill allegedly shot his friend with a pistol at her workplace. The victim said the shooting was an accident, which allowed Hill to keep his job.

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