Suspended Georgia sheriff convicted of civil rights abuses

Oct 26, 2022, 2:39 PM | Updated: 6:29 pm
FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department shows Clayton C...

FILE - This undated file photo provided by the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department shows Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill. A federal jury on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2022, returned a guilty verdict on six of seven charges Hill, accused of violating the constitutional rights of people in his custody by unnecessarily strapping them into restraint chairs. (Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department via AP, File)

(Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department via AP, File)

ATLANTA (AP) — A federal jury on Wednesday returned a guilty verdict on six of seven charges against a suspended Georgia sheriff accused of violating the constitutional rights of people in his custody by unnecessarily strapping them into restraint chairs.

Prosecutors said Victor Hill, who was suspended as Clayton County sheriff after his indictment last year, had detainees strapped into restraint chairs for hours even though they posed no threat and complied with deputies’ instructions. The use of the chairs was unnecessary, was improperly used as punishment and caused pain and bodily injury in violation of the civil rights of seven men, prosecutors argued.

Defense attorneys asserted that Hill used the restraint chair legally to maintain order at the jail and didn’t overstep his lawful authority.

Hill testified last week that he based his decisions to use the restraint chairs on indicators such as the way the men behaved before they arrived at the jail, including eluding police or assaulting women, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The jury began deliberating Friday afternoon, after about a week of testimony from more than three dozen witnesses, news outlets reported. Their verdict — guilty of violating the civil rights of six of the seven detainees — came Wednesday afternoon, news outlets reported.

The jury on Monday told the judge they were deadlocked on most of the charges and she read them what is known as an Allen charge, which urges jurors to continue deliberating to reach a unanimous verdict. She read them a second Allen charge on Wednesday, Findling said.

The jury foreperson told the judge Tuesday that she and other jurors had concerns about one juror, and on Wednesday sent the judge a note saying that one juror was failing to follow instructions, the Journal-Constitution reported. The judge questioned both the foreperson and the juror in question in open court.

Findling, who had moved multiple times for a mistrial, said the situation — where one juror was singled out and felt he had to defend himself during deliberations — was concerning.

“Our review of case law from this circuit and around the country would indicate that given what we experienced, this conviction will struggle to survive legal review by an appellate court,” Findling told The Associated Press.

Prosecutors said the chair is meant to be used to keep a violent or uncontrollable person from hurting himself or others. Instead, they said, Hill used it as punishment, keeping some of the men strapped in so long that they urinated on themselves.

Hill has attracted both vocal critics and fierce supporters since he first became sheriff in 2005, adopting a tough-on-crime attitude and favoring Batman imagery on social media and in campaign ads. He fired 27 deputies his first day on the job, though a judge later ordered them reinstated, and used a tank owned by the sheriff’s office during drug raids.

He lost a bid for reelection in 2008 after his first term. But the voters of Clayton County, just south of Atlanta, returned him to office in 2012 even though he was under indictment at the time, accused of using his office for personal gain. A jury ultimately acquitted him on all 27 charges in that case.

In 2016, he pleaded no contest to a reckless conduct charge after he shot and injured a woman in a model home in Gwinnett County, north of Atlanta. He and the woman both said the 2015 shooting was accidental and happened while they were practicing police tactics.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Sean Fisher, one of the student coordinators for QPLUS, the LGBTQ student organization for the Coll...
Associated Press

LGBTQ students wrestle with tensions at Christian colleges

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. (AP) — As monks chanted prayers in Saint John’s University church, members of the student LGBTQ organization, QPLUS, were meeting in their lounge at the Minnesota institution’s sister Benedictine college, a few miles away. To Sean Fisher, a senior who identifies as non-binary and helps lead QPLUS, its official recognition and funding by […]
7 hours ago
Sean Fisher, one of the student coordinators for QPLUS, the LGBTQ student organization for the Coll...
Associated Press

LGBTQ students wrestle with tensions at Christian colleges

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. (AP) — As monks chanted evening prayers in the dimly lit Saint John’s University church, members of the student LGBTQ organization, QPLUS, were meeting in a dedicated, Pride flag-lined lounge at the institution’s sister Benedictine college, a few miles away across Minnesota farmland. To Sean Fisher, a senior who identifies as non-binary and […]
7 hours ago
A fan displays a sign in support of Pelé at a Brazilian fan party before the the World Cup round o...
Associated Press

Image of Pelé shines bright for Brazilian fans at World Cup

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The image of a young Pelé celebrating goals and lifting trophies with Brazil’s national team appeared brightly on the shirts, flags and banners of Brazilian fans gathering before the Seleçao’s World Cup match against South Korea on Monday. The 82-year-old Pelé remained in a hospital in Sao Paulo, recovering from a […]
7 hours ago
FILE - Sudanese demonstrators attend a rally to demand the return to civilian rule a year after a m...
Associated Press

Sudan’s generals, pro-democracy group ink deal to end crisis

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — Sudan’s coup leaders and the main pro-democracy group signed a deal Monday to establish a civilian-led transitional government following the military takeover last year. But key players refused to participate, and no deadline was set for the transition to begin. The framework — signed by Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, Gen. Mohammed Hamdan […]
7 hours ago
Associated Press

Toll Brothers 4Q, consumer borrowing, producer prices

A look at some of the key business events and economic indicators upcoming this week: TOLL BROTHERS 4Q Wall Street expects that Toll Brothers closed out its last fiscal year with another solid quarter. Analysts predict the luxury homebuilder will report Tuesday that its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and revenue increased compared to the same period […]
7 hours ago
Officers stand by a police van as they leave the grounds of the courthouse complex after the trial ...
Associated Press

UK man to plead guilty to manslaughter in wife’s death

PAPHOS, Cyprus (AP) — Defense lawyers for a British man on trial for causing the death of his wife in Cyprus’ coastal resort town of Paphos said Monday they’re hopeful the court will suspend any sentence it hands down to their client after he pleads guilty to manslaughter next week. Briton David Hunter faced a […]
7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Suspended Georgia sheriff convicted of civil rights abuses