On June 2, 2021, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp suspended Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill based on a recommendation made by a three-person review commission as stated in the executive order citing O.C.G.A. 45-5-6 (2010) of the Georgia Code, which reads, “Public official investigated by the special commission upon indictment; gubernatorial review if the commission recommends
suspension; suspension; reinstatement; replacement officer.”
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, Burke County Sheriff Alfonzo Williams, and Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds were assigned to the review commission to determine if the indictment was related to or impacts the sheriff’s office in a manner that the rights and interests of the public are adversely affected, Kemp’s order stated. Their findings led to the recommendation of Hill’s suspension from office.
Hill, who was federally indicted back in April on four human and civil rights charges, is now on the other side of the justice system as he seeks to get answers from Governor Kemp as to why his state review commission report was leaked to the public.
“I am unable to find anywhere in the history of this review commission where there has ever been a leak of this type of report, as it is against the law for the report of the finding to be shown to the public as stated in Section 45-5-6,” said Hill’s attorney Marissa Goldberg.
The complete Section 45-5-6 (g) states: The report and records of the commission and the fact that the public official has or has not been suspended shall not be admissible in evidence in any court for any purpose. The report and records of the commission shall not be open to the public.”
The report leaked two days after the suspension of Sheriff Hill. The report was found not only on the websites of several local news outlets but also on the governor’s website, leading some to believe that Hill is being singled out and others to say that the actions of the review commission violate the law. “Even though the citizens of Clayton County love and support Sheriff Hill, this type of report being leaked can not only affect the jury pool but also put Hill more in the court of public opinion,” Goldberg explained.
Immediately following the discovery of the report being available to the public, Hill’s lawyers sent a letter to Governor Kemp asking for a full investigation into this very serious matter. In speaking with Hill’s lawyer, they are still waiting on a response from Governor Kemp. However, the citizens of Clayton County have taken matters into their own hands — starting a petition on Change.org to reinstate Sheriff Hill immediately. Thus far, the petition has over 1,500 signatures and counting. Hill also remains popular with Clayton residents in general due to a proven record of decreasing crime in the county.
As for Sheriff Hill, Goldberg said, “Hill is resting and staying committed to the people of Clayton County.”
Ann Hill-Bond is a freelance writer who is both persistent and earnest, which makes her a valuable asset to the culture.