Longtime Clayton County, Georgia Sheriff Victor Hill was charged by a federal grand jury this month with four offenses for brutalizing four inmates in the past year. Hill, who describes himself as a no-nonsense sheriff for “law and order,” has been accused of abusing the civil rights of four inmates by ordering them to be strapped into restraint chairs for hours, despite those individuals being fully cooperative and posing no threat .
Clayton County comprises the southern suburbs of Atlanta and is the location of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the second largest airport in the world.
Victor Hill Sheriff of Clayton County (Facebook)
The charges against Sheriff Hill were overturned on April 19 and he appeared before a federal district court in Atlanta on Tuesday to plead guilty. Hill continues to act as sheriff despite the charges.
According to federal prosecutors, Hill ordered his MPs to keep the four inmates strapped to a restraint chair for hours during various periods in 2020 because either those inmates were viewed as not subservient enough or Hill felt he was not being respectful enough to him.
According to the indictment, one of the detainees was held for so long and refused permission to go to the bathroom that he urinated on himself.
Hill was also accused of using his police to intimidate and then arrest a landscaper identified as GH by dispatching a heavily armed squad of his MPs. The landscaper reportedly had a dispute with a nearby Butts County MP for failing to pay a bill for the work the landscaper performed on the MP’s house.
After Hill found out about the dispute, he called the landscaper and identified himself as the Clayton County Sheriff. He asked why GH is “bothering his deputy”. As a result, Sheriff Hill appears to have fabricated a “communication harassment” charge against the landscaper in order to arrest him. GH had made multiple calls to Sheriff Hill using FaceTime to verify that it was the Clayton County Sheriff who had called him about a billing dispute.
Hill was quoted in the indictment as shouting at two of the victims in harsh language about the threat of further torture.
“I sit in this chair for sixteen hours in a row. Do you understand me? I need to hear from the two of you that you’re not going to show your ass in my county. “
Each detainee has stated that his abuse by Hill “caused physical pain and harm”.
The most recent exposure of wanton police abuse comes amid a spate of police murders that sparked popular protests in the first four months of this year. This includes the cold-blooded execution of 13-year-old Adam Toledo on March 29 by a Chicago police officer and at least 265 other police killings on April 14 in the United States. Without exception, the victims are young people or workers, especially those who are socially disadvantaged and suffer from mental health problems.
This is not the first time Clayton County police have been caught brutalized. Last September, a Hill MP was sacked after he and his partner brutally beat Roderick Walker, 26, on camera.
Hill’s attorney, Drew Findling, expressed outrage, accusing the Justice Department of prosecuting his client for politically motivated reasons. According to Foundling, the injuries were mild and do not deserve an examination because they were not brutal enough.
“Sheriff Victor Hill is a beloved sheriff in his county. He’s a crime fighter. He wins overwhelming elections and the fact that these four innocuous allegations are the cause of criminal proceedings sends mixed messages from the Justice Department, ”said Findling. He continued: “There are no physical injuries. Other cases where this type of charge has been made involve brutal injuries and crimes – there is no such thing here. “
Findling said the investigation was launched by the Trump administration after Sheriff Hill refused to house undocumented people arrested by Immigration and Customs Services (ICE) in Clayton County prisons. Sheriff Hill allegedly did so because he feared the constitutional rights of those arrested by ICE would be violated.
This image of Hill as a great defender of the constitutional rights contradicts the utter disdain he has shown to have shown one of the detainees over the past year.
The federal indictment cites the following attack on one of the inmates identified as JA that occurred in February 2020.
JA was arrested without incident for assaulting two women during an argument in a Clayton County grocery store. When he was taken to the booking, Hill asked him what he was doing in Clayton County since it was not where he lived. The inmate replied by saying, “It’s a democracy, sir. It’s the United States. “
“No, it’s not, not in my county,” Hill replied, according to the prosecution.
When JA asked the sheriff if he was not entitled to a fair and expeditious trial, Hill allegedly stated, “You have the right to sit in this chair and you have the right to get the hell out of my county and not come back. You are entitled to this. You sound like a fucking donkey … “
Far from this prosecution being a US Department of Justice (DOJ) case seeking to curb rampant police abuse or protect the constitutional rights of inmates, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which the Hill Investigation monitored uncovered another motivation: to restore confidence in law enforcement.
Christopher Macrae, the FBI Deputy Special Agent in charge, stated, “Sheriff Hill allegedly abused his privileges and relinquished his responsibilities, and the FBI is committed to restoring trust in the law enforcement by holding him accountable” (emphasis added) .
Former federal attorney Bret Williams told 11 Alive, “The case will be hard to prove even if prosecutors have videos from prison.” In other words, Hill will most likely be released unscathed, as will most law enforcement officers who face criminal prosecution.
The claim by the Democratic Party and the mass media that racism explains police violence and can be mitigated by increasing the number of minorities in the police force and in leadership positions is refuted in this recent example of police abuse. Sheriff Hill is, in fact, the first African American to be elected to head the Clayton County’s Sheriff’s Department.
The police are “the special body of armed men” employed by the ruling elite to protect their property interests and to force workers and youth to accept their exploitation, even if the capitalists pursue a policy aimed at the already obscene enrichment of the country Promote the super rich.
Only by overthrowing the capitalist system can the infinite rule of police violence and murder be ended. This requires the mobilization of the masses under the leadership of the working class for socialism not only in the US but worldwide.
Now available from Mehring Books
The New York Times Project of 1619 and the Racist Forgery of History
A collection of lectures, essays and interviews with leading historians.