Georgia governor suspends county sheriff indicted on federal civil rights charges

In this photo from Aug. 16, 2012, Sheriff Victor Hill speaks at a candidate forum in Rex, Georgia.

(CNN)A Georgia county sheriff has been suspended following a review of his indictment on federal civil rights charges, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's office announced Wednesday.

Kemp suspended Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill after a commission found Hill's indictment adversely affects the administration of the sheriff's office, according to an executive order released from Kemp's office.
      Hill was indicted in April for allegedly ordering his employees to use excessive force against four pretrial detainees, according to a release from the US Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia. Staff at the Clayton County Jail, allegedly on orders from Hill, strapped pretrial detainees into a restraint chair "for a period exceeding that justified by any legitimate nonpunitive government purpose" in four separate incidents in 2020.
        Hill pleaded not guilty and was released on signature bond, according to his attorneys.
          Following the suspension, Hill issued a statement on his Facebook page.
          "Today, I have been placed on suspension until I am exonerated in court," Hill said.
          "I am very honored to have the outpour of support I have received and I thank you all for it," he said. "I will take this time to train and meditate so that when I return, any ground loss will be regained. Until then may GOD bless you all, and may he continue to bless Clayton County."
          In Wednesday's order, Kemp said he appointed members in May to a review commission to determine whether the indictment "relates to and adversely affects the administration of the office of Clayton County Sheriff such that the rights and interests of the public are adversely affected."
          The commission's report, published Tuesday, recommended Hill be suspended from office. Kemp's executive order suspends Hill "without further action pending the final disposition of the case or until the expiration of his term of office."
          CNN has reached out to the Clayton County Sheriff's Office.
          Hill was first elected as Clayton County sheriff in 2004 and lost a reelection bid four years later. He won in 2012 to return to the position and most recently was reelected last year as an unopposed candidate.
          Hill as sheriff has not been without controversy, aspiring to the image of a tough-on-crime administrator who activists and critics have felt has abused the powers. On his first day in office in 2005, he fired 27 deputies and had them escorted out of their building as snipers were positioned outside, according to CNN affiliate WSB. Courts intervened and the deputies were later reinstated.
          In 2013, he was acquitted on more than two dozen charges alleging he had used the office for personal gain, according to WSB.
            In 2015, Hill fired a pistol that struck and wounded a friend at her workplace in Gwinnett County, according to CNN affiliate WXIA. The victim told authorities the shooting was accidental and Hill continued his tenure as sheriff.
            Last year, the Clayton County Sheriff's Department was involved in an excessive use-of-force incident, which the department said was subject to an internal investigation requested by Hill. The deputy in question was fired shortly after.