NEWS BRIEF: Excessive force trial of Clayton sheriff to proceed

Chair as ‘use of force’ case goes to trial

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Photo credit: Courtesy Gwinnett County Sheriff's Dept
Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill
The trial of an Atlanta-area sheriff accused of violating detainees’ civil rights will go ahead as planned after a judge refused a motion to dismiss the case brought by defense attorneys. The federal indictment against former Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill says he used excessive force against five people being held in the county jail. Prosecutors say he ordered them to be restrained in chairs without justification and as punishment. In a Dec. 29 filing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher Bly noted that Hill’s indictment alleges he “used force against pretrial detainees who were complying with law enforcement instructions.” Hill’s lawyers had argued that “there is no case law making clear that the use of restraint chairs amounts to the use of force at all, let alone excessive force,” but Bly responded that he “simply cannot agree that placing someone in restraints, to a degree that they cause physical pain and bodily injury does not amount to the use of force.” washingtonpost.com