Sheriff Victor Hill Arrested on Civil Rights Charges

This morning, I got a vague “advisory” from the office of Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill, which talked about how he would “begin the process of fighting a political motivated federal legal case. My legal team are the only ones authorized to speak on the details of this matter, and they are confident about the facts of this case.” Curiously, he didn’t say anything about what was coming.

Hoo, boy.

A grand jury indicted Victor Hill yesterday on charges of violating the civil rights of prisoners. The specific allegations, as reported by Mark Winne at Channel 2, say that Hill — himself — strapped a prisoner into a chair for hours and then locked him “in a suicide watch cell wearing nothing but a paper gown.” The prisoner, Glenn Howell, was trying to collect a debt from one of Hill’s deputies for work performed, Howell’s attorney said. Hill then called Howell directly and suggested — in a profanity-laden conversation — that Howell back off that debt, Howell’s attorney said. Later he found out that two guys from the fugitive squad had been looking for Howell to arrest him on a misdemeanor charge of harassing communications.

Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine will be giving a press conference with the FBI to discuss this at 3:30 p.m. on the plaza at the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in Atlanta.

I blew off Hill’s initial release because … well, Hill is regularly in trouble. He has arrested political opponents, was accused of firing deputies on the basis of race, and shot a woman five years ago. But even by those standards, this is remarkable, and may finally end his political career. We will see.

EDIT: Here’s the unsealed indictment. Hill is accused of having four people strapped to restraint chairs while he berated them for their poor behavior, then leaving them for hours there. One was a 17-year-old kid who mess up his mother’s house.


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