‘I can live again’: Man who was terrorized by Victor Hill relieved former sheriff going to prison

A judge sentenced former Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill on Thursday to 18 months behind bars for violating the civil rights of detainees.

After his release, Hill will also be required to serve six years of probation and he will not be allowed to participate in any paid law enforcement activities.

Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne spoke with one of the victims who said Hill put him in a restraint chair as a form of punishment.

Glenn Howell said he was strapped in a chair for hours and he’s still traumatized by that experience at the Clayton County Jail.

Howell said it’s justice that Hill will be locked up for what he did to him, and six others strapped into restraint chairs for hours without legal justification in the lockup hill once ran...

“Eighteen months is 18 months. That’s justice,” Howell said.

“Almost three years later are you still affected?” Winne asked Howell.

“Absolutely,” he said. “(My) arms are still affected. I’m still in pain. Mental wise it’s a lot of anxiety.”

“When you were sitting in that chair, did you think he would ever have to answer for what happened?” Winne asked Howell.

“No,” Howell said.

“But today he did,” Winne told Howell.

“He did,” Howell said.

“How’s that leave you feeling?” Winne asked Howell.

“Happy. Finally, feel like I can live again,” Howell said.


Howell said Hill interceded for one of Hill’s deputies in a billing dispute over landscape work Howell had done for the deputy, resulting in phone calls and text messages between Hill and Howell and a misdemeanor harassing communications warrant against Howell.

Howell said he was innocent and ultimately, after surrendering at the jail, he was strapped in a restraint chair for about six and a half hours though he was compliant and never resisted.

“When you got out of that chair how big were your hands?” Winne asked Howell.

“They were the size of softballs,” Howell said.

Howell said he’s the restraint chair victim to whom sentencing Judge Eleanor Ross referred when she said, per a transcript, “The man from Butts County, a landscaper who is a couple of counties over who ends up in that restraint chair following a financial dispute with one of your deputies. There’s no way anybody who heard those full details could think that that man was properly restrained in that restraint chair.”

“You could tell that she took it to heart,” Howell said.

The transcript indicates Ross said, “I have truly struggled with this case. There has been a lot of thought, contemplation and because of the woman I am, a lot of prayer.”

She added: “You are either hero or villain to many people.”

But Howell told Winne that these comments from the judge seemingly directed at Hill resonated especially with him: “As much as you may love the law, what it seems like is that your love of power somehow overcame that love of the law. And that, combined with your arrogance, is really what makes this whole story so unfortunate.”

The FBI released a video statement, saying: “Badges and guns don’t come with the authority to ignore the Constitution. They come with the responsibility to protect it.”

Hill’s attorney, Drew Findling, said Hill will be appealing his conviction that the lack of notice the widely used, legally purchased restraint chair in a certain manner could be criminal will be one basis for appeal.

“The use of a restraint chair is not a crime by itself?” Winne asked Howell’s attorney Darryl Scott.

“No. The issue is when it’s used to punish detainees,” Scott said.

Scott said a lawsuit he’s brought on Howell’s behalf that has been on pause because of the criminal case, has recently been cleared to move forward and he expects to add additional plaintiffs.

“We’re seeking monetary damages for the mental anguish that the victims went through, the physical injuries that they endured, as well as punitive damages,’ Scott said.

“Can you forgive Victor hill?” Winne asked Howell.

“I wish he would’ve just said he was sorry,” Howell said.

As part of his sentence, the judge told Hill on Tuesday, “You must refrain from engaging in the occupation, business, or profession of law enforcement, including as a consultant.”

Howell said Hill getting a prison sentence was a positive for him and every victim.