ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's governor on Wednesday suspended a sheriff accused of violating the civil rights of several people in his custody by ordering them unnecessarily strapped into restraint chairs and left there for hours.
A federal grand jury in April indicted Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill. The indictment accuses the sheriff of improperly using restraint chairs at the county jail for punishment.
Gov. Brian Kemp last month appointed a review panel made up of the state attorney general and two other sheriffs to determine whether the charges in the indictment were would affect Hill's ability to do his job in a way that adversely affects the public.
The commission found that to be the case and recommended that Hill be suspended, Kemp wrote in his executive order. The suspension is immediate and will remain in effect until the charges against him are resolved or until his term of office is over, whichever comes first, the order says.
Drew Findling, a lawyer for Hill, said his client is disappointed by the governor's order.
"However, we remain confident that, ultimately, Sheriff Hill will be completely exonerated," Findling said in a phone interview. "Thereafter, the executive order will be moot, and the citizens of Clayton County will have Sheriff Hill, their duly elected sheriff, back in office."
Hill remains free on bond while his case is pending.