Under US law, restraint chairs can't be used on inmates as a kind of punishment. But that's what a Georgia sheriff is accused of doing over the course of several months last year in the case of four people who allegedly suffered pain and injury as a result, and now he's been indicted on federal civil rights charges. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill is accused of putting jail inmates in the chair—which features shoulder, lap, ankle, and wrist straps—for hours at a time and hurling expletives at them. One defendant urinated on himself while restrained, per the indictment. Another allegation details the arrest of a cooperative 17-year-old who'd allegedly caused damage to his home while fighting with his mom. The arresting officer sent a photo of the teen and his age to Hill. "Chair," Hill allegedly texted back.
The AP reports that, per the indictment unsealed Monday, Hill had OKed a policy stating that a restraint chair could be used in cases when other techniques couldn't prevent a violent or uncontrollable inmate from causing injury or property damage; however, it emphasizes that the restraint chair "will never be authorized as a form of punishment." The AP calls Hill "no stranger to controversy"—from day one, essentially. When he took office in 2005, he fired 27 deputies on his first day and stationed snipers on the roof as they exited. He was acquitted in 2013 on charges of racketeering and theft, and he pleaded no contest to a reckless conduct charge in August 2016 after shooting and injuring a woman while they were allegedly practicing police tactics a year prior. Hill was released on bond Tuesday. (Read more civil rights stories.)