Written by Ann Hill-Bond
On Tuesday, April 27th, 2021 Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill was indicted on federal charges for alleged civil rights violations of four former inmates at the Clayton County Jail. Hill did not let that stop him from doing his job as the elected sheriff. After he turned himself in to federal authorities, Hill made bond within minutes and continued his duties as the sheriff of Clayton County the same day. He led a manhunt of a wanted killer from Arkansas at the boarder of Fulton and Clayton county and has been seen by residents responding to emergencies, something his constituents have come to expect and appreciate from the sheriff dubbed, “The Crime Fighter”.
According to Clayton County Sheriff’s Deputy Lt. Guthrie, he feels “Sheriff Hill did nothing illegal and holds his staff to a high standard of courtesy at the agency.” According to Guthrie, the investigation and indictment is “politically-motivated” against Hill. Lt. Guthrie was initially contacted by the FBI as part of their investigation against the sheriff.
While Hill has become all too familiar with controversy, he has significant support from county residents.
Hill, in 2005 became the first African–American elected Clayton County Sheriff. According the data collected by Clayton County during his 16 years as Sheriff, Hill waged an unprecedented war on crime in Clayton County with the following results: (1) Captured nine of Clayton County’s ten most wanted; (2) Created three elite task forces to confront Clayton County’s high crime rate: (a) “Cobra Unit” to combat drugs by saturating high crime areas, (b) “Joint Vice Task Force” to fight gambling and prostitution; and (c) “Stalking Unit” combating domestic violence by “stalking the stalkers.” (3) Sheriff Hill and his Deputies executed Clayton County’s most successful assault on drugs and violence – “Operation Jericho” resulting in murders decreasing by 30% and aggravated assaults decreasing by 11%.
Under Hill’s leadership, the Clayton County Jail is recognized as being the safest, cleanest, and quietest jail in the Southeastern United States.
Sheriff Hill was also acquitted in 2013 of more than two dozen corruption charges. Many believed that prosecution to be politically-motivated as well. Hill has since been re-elected multiple times with overwhelming victories. The Clayton County Sheriff went unopposed in his most previous election.
Even though Hill has his critics, community members and civil rights organization are standing with him. The New Order Human Rights Organization says they will support Sheriff Hill as he faces these federal charges. CEO, Gerald Rose, told Fox 5 News, “I talked to several people out of Clayton County, some people love Victor Hill, some people don’t. But I can tell you that the crime is down out here, you know he runs his jail like a boot camp, and some people can’t accept it.”
Currently, Sheriff Hill is out on a signature bond. He can carry his service weapon (which is not usual common in a federal case—however the judge ruled that he is permitted to do so) and is currently back at work with a business-as-usual mindset. In an email statement released on Tuesday, Hill said, “Today I will begin the process of fighting a political (sic) motivated federal legal case. Meanwhile, as we go through this process, I will continue to focus on the mission of fighting crime in Clayton County for continued success.”
This case is still open and awaiting trial details.