Clayton County will pay two sheriff salaries during Victor Hill suspension

Gov. Brian Kemp suspended Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill from duty because of a federal indictment against the lawman.

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

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Gov. Brian Kemp suspended Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill from duty because of a federal indictment against the lawman.

Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC

Clayton County will have to pay two sheriffs salaries for the foreseeable future, now that embattled leader Victor Hill has been suspended until the federal criminal case against him is resolved.

An interim sheriff will be paid Hill’s roughly $150,000 salary, the chairman of the Clayton County Commission says Hill will continue to collect his normal pay during the suspension.

“It is a paid suspension so we’ll be paying double the amount,” Turner said, adding that Chief Deputy Roland Boeher has stepped in to perform the sheriff’s duties for now.

The extra cost is part of the fallout from Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision Wednesday to suspend Hill, as the lawman faces federal charges that he violated the civil rights of four detainees in 2020 by strapping them into restraining chairs as punishment. Hill has denied the charges.

The governor’s executive order said Hill will remain suspended from the department until his indictment is adjudicated or his term in office expires in 2024, which ever comes first.

Hill acknowledged his suspension late Wednesday in a post on his Facebook page.

“Today, I have been placed on suspension until I am exonerated in court. I am very honored to have the outpour of support I have received and I thank you all for it,” he wrote. “I will take this time to train and meditate so that when I return, any ground loss will be regained.

Hill has been a lightning rod for controversy since he first took office in 2005. Those controversies have included posting snipers on the roof of the sheriff’s office after firing 27 employees, accidentally shooting a friend while demonstrating “police tactics” during a date, and taking into custody the wife of a rival for office.

The U.S. Attorneys Office for the Northern District of Georgia announced the four-count indictment against Hill in late April.

Turner, the Clayton Commission chairman, said it was unclear whether the sheriff would get to keep his police cruiser, firearm or other county-issued paraphernalia during this suspension.

“I probably wouldn’t have a problem with him retaining his gun because he is the sheriff and there may be people out there who want to do him harm,” Turner said. “We’ll do whatever the law dictates us to do.”

The Clayton Sheriff’s Office Nixle social media page will operate as usual, Turner said. Hill, who famously did not talk to the media, used Nixle to communicate with county residents on everything from arrests to car fatalities to road closures.

It also is unclear whether Chief Deputy Boeher would automatically become interim sheriff or whether Gov. Kemp would need to step in. Because Clayton does not have statutory language outlining succession, it defers to state guidelines which pass the job to the chief deputy.

Turner said he has not spoken with Kemp on the matter.