Panel to advise if Georgia sheriff should be suspended


ATLANTA — Georgia’s governor on Wednesday appointed a panel to determine whether a sheriff accused of violating the civil rights of several people in his custody should be suspended pending the outcome of federal charges.

A federal grand jury last month indicted Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill. The indictment accuses the sheriff of repeatedly ordering detainees to be put in a restraint chair for hours even though they posed no threat and had complied with deputies. The indictment alleges the restraint chairs were improperly used as punishment.

Hill has said the prosecution is politically motivated. One of his lawyers, Drew Findling, has said no detainee was physically injured and called the case “nonsensical.”

A federal magistrate judge authorized Hill’s release on bond.

Georgia law allows the governor to convene a review commission made up of two sheriffs and the state attorney general to investigate and recommend whether a sheriff facing criminal or ethics charges should be suspended pending the outcome.

In an executive order Wednesday, Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Attorney General Chris Carr, Burke County Sheriff Alfonzo Williams and Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds to determine whether the indictment affects Hill’s duties in such a way that it could have an adverse effect on the public.

The panel is to report back to Kemp within 14 days.

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