ATLANTA — A jury heard graphic testimony Tuesday from a former detainee of the Clayton County sheriff.
Victor Hill is on trial in federal court, accused of violating the civil rights of inmates.
The court heard from Glenn Howell Tuesday, and he testified for about 90 minutes.
Howell first shared his story with Channel 2′s investigative reporter Mark Winne in June 2020, two months after his arrest.
Howell had been doing some landscaping work for a lieutenant of Hill.
He was arrested for a misdemeanor after the sheriff got involved in a payment dispute Howell had with the lieutenant.
Howell testified that Hill ordered deputies to put him in a restraining chair, saying he was “teaching (him) a lesson.”
Howell said his shoulders were strapped and hands were cuffed behind the chair.
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“It was the worst thing in my life,” he told the court.
After about 10 minutes, he testified that claustrophobia set in. After half an hour, Howell asked for a medic, thinking he was having a heart attack, but says he was denied.
Prosecutors showed video of Howell in the jail during his arrest. At one point, the sheriff arrives and speaks to Howell.
Howell testified that the sheriff said, “He was gonna show me how to fix it,” referring to their earlier dispute.
“You had the opportunity to fix it,” he said the sheriff told him.
“The worst thing in my life,” is how he described the experience. “I couldn’t barely move.” About 30 minutes in, he asked for a medic because he thought he was having a heart or panic attack.
He said he was in restraint for 5 or 6 hours, but that “It felt like a lifetime.”
He said something similar to Winne in 2020.
“I was in fear of my life. I didn’t know which way to turn. These are where the handcuffs were,” Howell said.
Back in court, he described what his hands looked like.
“My hands were the size of softballs, very swollen,” he said. “My hands were so swollen I couldn’t see my knuckles.”
Howell said Hill asked him before he was released, “Are we going to have any more problems?”
Because of his injuries from the restraint chair, Howell said he’s not been able to do his landscaping job.
He’s back on the stand Wednesday for cross examination.
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