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 of Clayton County, south of Atlanta, was sentenced to 18 months in prison, the U.S. attorney’s office for Northern Georgia said in a statement.
A jury convicted Hill, 58, in October of six of the seven civil rights counts against him. It acquitted him of one count.
Prosecutors said Hill ordered pretrial 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 didn’t 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 they 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.
Hill was indicted in 2021. After his prison term, he will be under supervised release for six years, the U.S. attorney’s office said.