In a press release shared Tuesday by the Department of Justice, Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill is alleged to have ordered employees to strap detainees into a restraint chair and keep them there for hours, marking a violation of constitutional rights. Additionally, Hill is alleged to have deprived these Clayton County jail detainees of due process rights, as such force is unreasonable and amounts to an example of punishment. According to the indictment, these actions caused “physical pain and bodily injury” for the detainees.
“Badges and guns don’t come with the authority to ignore the Constitution,” Assistant Special Agent in Charge Christopher Macrae, of FBI Atlanta, said Tuesday. “They come with the responsibility to protect it from anyone who would violate it, especially another public servant. Sheriff Hill is alleged to have abused his privileges and abandoned his responsibilities and the FBI is committed to restoring trust in law enforcement by holding him accountable.”
The Inmate Restraint Chair Policy of the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, notably, states that use of a restraint chair is “never” an authorized method of punishment.
Among those who were allegedly subjected to the restraint chair punishment were a 17-year-old who had been accused of vandalizing his family home during an argument with his mother, as well as one individual who was prevented from going to the restroom and thus urinated on the chair. Hill is also alleged to have made threats of extended restraint chair tenures, including telling one individual that he would “sit your ass in that chair for sixteen hours straight.”
As pointed out by WSB-TV on Tuesday the indictment includes mention of allegations that were first reported by the regional Atlanta outlet in June of last year. Hill—who claimed in a statement this was a “political motivated federal legal case”—was granted a $50,000 bond, which he posted. Per prosecutors, Hill’s four counts of deprivation of rights under color of law carry a max sentence of 10 years.