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Governor to review if Clayton County sheriff should be suspended over indictment

Gov. Brian Kemp's office created a commission to provide a recommendation on the matter in an executive order signed Wednesday.

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — Gov. Brian Kemp will review whether Sheriff Victor Hill should be suspended from office due to a recent indictment, establishing a commission via executive order on Wednesday to give him a recommendation on the matter.

Hill was indicted on federal charges in April for allegedly violating the civil rights of detainees through the use of a restraint chair on multiple occasions. 

He has pleaded not guilty in that case.

Life-long Clayton County resident, Jennifer Smith is indifferent on if Hill should be suspended, but supports how he runs the sheriff's office. 

“I’ve seen this county with a lot of crime and in my opinion he’s done a good job at cleaning it up," said Smith.

With the executive order signed Wednesday, Gov. Kemp is asking Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, Burke County Sheriff Alfonzo Williams and Cherokee County Sheriff Frank Reynolds to determine whether the indictment "relates to and adversely affects the administration of the duties by Sheriff Hill such that the rights and interests of the public are adversely affected."

RELATED: Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill could face multiple suspensions as he waits for his day in federal court on felony charges

The executive order requires the three men to write a report and submit a recommendation within 14 days on whether the sheriff should be suspended.

11Alive spoke to Ron Lawton in Clayton County who hopes the commission decides to suspend Hill, saying he terrorizes people. 

“You can’t use power against the powerless and for him to be a brother, it’s really unfortunate," said Lawton.

The executive order cites Section 45-5-6 of the Georgia Code, which requires a review commission upon indictment of a public official for acts related to that official's public office.

That section of state law lays out how the governor may then suspend the official:

If the commission determines that the indictment relates to and adversely affects the administration of the office of the indicted public official and that the rights and interests of the public are adversely affected thereby, the commission shall recommend that the public official be suspended from office. If, and only if, the commission recommends suspension, then the Governor shall review the findings and recommendations of the commission and may suspend the public officer from office immediately and without further action pending the final disposition of the case or until the expiration of his term of office, whichever occurs first.

The law also calls for the official to be immediately reinstated if the case is resolved without a conviction or if the conviction is overturned. While the official is suspended, a replacement is to be filled either through local statute or by appointment from the governor.

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