Clayton County

Jury selection begins in Clayton sheriff’s federal trial for inmate civil rights violations

The long-awaited federal trial for suspended Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill has finally begun.

The controversial sheriff was indicted a year ago on charges accusing him of violating inmates’ civil rights by using restraint chairs as a form of punishment.

The indictment involves allegations first reported by Channel 2 Action News.

Governor Brian Kemp suspended Hill after the indictment.

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A federal grand jury in April 2021 indicted Hill based on allegations from four victims. Three more alleged victims were added in later indictments.

Hill’s attorney, Drew Findling, spoke with Channel 2′s Audrey Washington and says the charges are bogus and is confident the jury will find Hill not guilty.

“He’s ready to get on the other side of this so he can get back to doing his thing and that is serving the people of Clayton County, and the state of Georgia.” he said.

Channel 2 previously spoke with one of Hill’s accusers who detailed the alleged abuse.

“Still got marks there from when they came with the handcuffs,” he explained.


Cameras are not allowed inside federal courtroom, but Washington got to sit inside and watch as attorneys questioned potential jurors.

“What is your opinion on police use of force cases?,” defense attorneys asked.

“How do you feel about a restraint chair?,” government prosecutors asked a potential juror who used to work in a mental and behavioral health center.

Other questions asked included, “Where do you get your news?” and “How do you feel about the allegations?”

This is not the first time Hill has faced a jury.

In 2011, a Clayton County jury cleared the sheriff of 32 felony charges in state court, including violation of oath of office.

In this federal trial, the jury will be made up of jurors from around the state, not just Clayton County.

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In a ruling on pretrial motions, the U.S. District judge overseeing the case says she wants the trial to be narrowly focused on the current charges and not his reputation.

The judge ruled that prosecutors can’t bring up evidence of other alleged uses of force at the jail and the jail’s conditions. Past lawsuits and Hill’s suspension by Gov. Kemp also cannot be discussed.

Hill’s attorneys won’t be allowed to compare his case to other cases of alleged misconduct by law enforcement. They also cannot bring up his good acts or what his suspension means for the county.

Hill has a reputation as a crime fighter and even uses Batman images on his personal social media and ads.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.