CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill took the stand in his federal trial, saying he stands by his decision to put seven detainees in a restraint chair.
Hill is accused of violating the civil rights of the detainees. Prosecutors argue the inmates did nothing to warrant four hours in a restraint chair with their upper arms strapped and hands cuffed behind their backs.
The sheriff said based on aggressive or destructive behavior, the restraint was necessary for these inmates.
One of those detainees was Glenn Howell, who was arrested after the sheriff got involved in a payment dispute Howell had with a sheriff’s lieutenant.
[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]
On the stand, Sheriff Hill said Howell had displayed volatile behavior toward him and the lieutenant.
He said Howell had repeatedly used expletives against him, and that Howell ran his own girlfriend off the road.
He testified that Howell was “a threat to law enforcement” and “definitely a threat to jail security.”
That’s when Howell was placed in the restraint chair for four hours.
Hill described the behavior of the other detainees as violent and uncontrollable, warranting the restraint.
- ‘It felt like a lifetime’: Detainee says Victor Hill tried to ‘teach him a lesson’
- Jury selection begins in Clayton sheriff’s federal trial for inmate civil rights violations
- Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill indicted on several federal charges
- Clayton County sheriff’s attorney asks Kemp to investigate leaked report recommending his suspension
By the sheriff’s office policy, detainees can only be strapped in the chair if they are a threat to themselves or others, or are damaging property.
Sheriff Hill said detainees in the chair are monitored every 15 minutes and have a nurse nearby. He said he never directed staff to ignore requests for bathroom breaks or medical attention. In the nearly 600 times the chair has been used in his jail, he said, nobody has ever been hurt.
Before Sheriff Hill took the stand, his chief deputy, Roland Boehrer, testified.
During cross examination, he said, “You don’t arbitrarily put even one person in a restraint chair.”
To which the prosecutor responded, “If you did that, it would be illegal.”
“Yes, sir,” Boehrer said.
Boehrer went on to say, “There would have to be a justification for putting someone in the restraint chair.”
[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]
Closing arguments are set to begin Friday morning.
©2022 Cox Media Group