Former Georgia sheriff sentenced to prison over illegal restraints


A former Georgia sheriff convicted of ordering inmates to be held in chair restraints for hours without legal cause was sentenced to more than a year in prison Tuesday, federal prosecutors said.

Victor Hill, the former sheriff in Clayton County, south of Atlanta, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia said in a statement.

Hill, 58, was convicted by a jury in October of six of the seven civil rights counts against him. The jury acquitted him of one count.

Prosecutors said Hill ordered pre-trial detainees to be put in a restraint chair for hours without legal cause, or as punishment, and when they posed no physical threat.

One of those people was left there for four hours and urinated on himself, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Another man was kept there for seven hours after he said he didn’t want to answer the sheriff’s questions, and another was a 17-year-old boy who had been completely compliant with deputies, the office said.

An attorney for Hill did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday night.

Hill’s lawyers wrote in a sentencing memorandum that Hill had no intention of violating anyone’s civil rights, but sought an orderly and safe jail and “used innovative and outside the box measures to achieve these goals.”

“His role and actions in these offenses, while regrettable in hindsight, were monumentally less than those convicted of similar crimes involving excessive force,” and involved no violence or assault, they wrote.

U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan said in a statement that “there was absolutely no justification for Hill to order pretrial detainees to be strapped into restraint chairs for hours on end,” and that they did suffer injuries.

“Hill brazenly abused his power and has been held accountable by a jury and a judge and will go to federal prison,” Buchanan said.

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