Lawmakers speak up for Clayton County’s sheriff-elect — whose name escapes them

An awkward press conference just wrapped up at the state Capitol, called by Clayton County lawmakers in defense of Sheriff-elect Victor Hill. At least that’s who we think they were talking about.

Hill, you’ll recall, faces a couple dozen felony indictments for alleged misbehavior during his first stint as sheriff, which ended when voters booted him in 2008. Hill revived his law enforcement career by beating incumbent Kem Kimbrough in the Democratic primary this summer, and defeated a write-in candidate this month.

Once Hill takes his oath of office in January, Gov. Nathan Deal has the option of suspending Hill until his legal issues are resolved. The Georgia Sheriffs’ Association last week recommended the governor take that route, and even suggested a replacement.

It was that move from the sheriffs’ association that provoked the Clayton County delegation. “I want to see the process work,” said state Sen. Gail Davenport, D-Jonesboro, chairman of the delegation. “We want to make sure he has the right to prove his innocence.” Davenport noted that the fellow who won the November general election contest for sheriff in Clayton received 76 percent of the vote.

Davenport was followed by state Sen. Valencia Seay, D-Riverdale. “I was appalled and taken aback when I heard the sheriff’s association giving a recommendation for a replacement of our sheriff-elect,” she said. “The voters were crystal clear when they elected [the] sheriff-elect. They were crystal clear when they rejected the former sheriff.”

Seay said the sheriff’s association had acted “prematurely,” and in “total disrespect to the voters in Clayton County.”

Eight minutes and two speakers into the 10-minute press conference, and the name “Victor Hill” had yet to be uttered – unusual to say the least, and a signal that the issue has caused some discomfort within the ranks. The duty of actually naming Clayton County’s sheriff-elect was left to state Rep. Darryl Jordan, D-Riverdale.

I asked the group if they were asking governor not to suspend Hill once he takes office, as state law provides for. The lawmakers said no – not yet.

But Jordan said the issue was on the table, and handed me a copy of a letter to the governor that he’s asked his fellow Clayton County legislators to sign. Click here to read the entire letter, but here’s a portion:

“I could not continue to look at myself straight in the mirror if I did not register my complaint with you about the modern-day lynching of an elected official in Clayton County, Victor Hill. Victor Hill is my friend. He is a man who has admitted to the voters of Clayton County that he has made some mistakes in the past….

It seems to me, Governor, that when certain people can’t get their wishes at the voting booths, then they employ raw, unmitigated, egregious and flagrant attacks on the Voting Rights Act. This is unconscionable. The People of Clayton County are tired of this shabby and condescending treatment from people who don’t even live here and who certainly would not deign to even drive down to Clayton County to even eat at a nice restaurant on Tara Boulevard….

“It seems that these same people who can’t even utter the name “Clayton County” without sneering or choking are the same ones who want to tell us who to elect as our sheriff. We don’t need nor desire for you to bring back some sheriff who has long since been out of office…..

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

32 comments Add your comment

Will the last Democrat in Georgia please turn off the lights?.....

November 26th, 2012
6:04 pm

Clayton County, once again putting the capital “D” in Dysfunction.

-Once again electing as Sheriff a proven nutjob with two-dozen felony charges pending against him.

-The school system is once again being on the verge of losing its accreditation only a few short years after being the first school system in America to lose its accreditation since 1969.

-Rambling on about lynchings and nice restaurants on Tara Boulevard, an oxymoron to be sure.

Big round of applause for Clayton County! For this kind of blatant exceptional stupidity deserves nothing less than a standing ovation.

political arsonist

November 26th, 2012
6:18 pm

“when certain people can’t get their wishes at the voting booths, then they employ raw, unmitigated, egregious and flagrant attacks on the Voting Rights Act”

…and he’s sending this to the current governor? hahahahahahaha, does he not know the crook epitomizes raw, unmitigated, egregious and flagrant ethics and was run out of DC for such arrogance? good luck with that try. November 4, 2014. Get rid of Deal.

Georgia Peach

November 26th, 2012
6:22 pm

Well, I live in Clayton County and trust me there isn’t a nice restaurant on Tara Blvd. It is a shame that ego maniacs like Victor Hill and Gail Davenport are associated with Clayton County. They are an embarassment to our community and our state. Clayton County does have good people a numerous outstanding opportunity, but Victor Hill and Gail Davenport are not part of the common sense crowd. While we’re at it, what has Valencia Seay ever done for Clayton County besides almost causing the county to lose their state money for the new library?

Common Sense

November 26th, 2012
6:29 pm

In under 15 Years, Clayton County has gone from one of the most prosperous and well educated Counties in the Nation to worse than a typical 3rd World dictatorship, broke, and losing businesses at a rate which will leave the property owners supporting its enormous, bloated, inefficient governance. No elected person from this County can cite a single positive effect they have had, especially the darling of the LIbtards, David Scott.


November 26th, 2012
7:20 pm

political arsonist
…and he’s sending this to the current governor? hahahahahahaha, does he not know the crook epitomizes raw, unmitigated, egregious and flagrant ethics and was run out of DC for such arrogance? good luck with that try. November 4, 2014. Get rid of Deal.

governor…(Term loosely used)

AMEN!….send shady deal out on a rail…my bad, we do not have a rail…greyhound will work..

Just Wait

November 26th, 2012
7:24 pm

Leave it to them to try to make it a “race” thing. That is not the issue. The issue is that Victor Hill is a liability and the Sheriff’s Association is trying to make sure he does not take office until he has been cleared of all charges. If he is convicted, there is a whole different process. None of it has to do with “race.”

Democrat Man

November 26th, 2012
7:33 pm

The Georgia Sheriffs Association(GSA) is merely trying to get one of their employees a job! Bill Lemacks works for the the GSA! Why do the good citizens of Clayton County care what the GSA thinks! Vic Hill is a real lawman and Clayton County needs a good lawman! Tell Terry Norris and the GSA to go away!

Buford T. Justice

November 26th, 2012
7:35 pm

“Modern day lynching”? Does the Honorable Mr. Jordan devalue so much the lives of those who were lynched and the horrible evil of the act that he can equate the temporary removal of a public office holder who is under criminal indictment? That goes beyond egregious hyperbole.

“Raw, unmitigated egregious” attack on the VRA? Does the Honorable gentleman from the 77th equate the struggle of John Lewis and many others who were beaten and killed for the right to vote with the temporary removal of a public office holder who is in charge of crime prevention who is charged with multiple crimes?

“Nice restaurants on Tara Blvd.”? Does the Honorable Representative equate Hooters, McDonalds, KFC, the Waffle House, Golden Corral and Bay Breeze with the sweat and toil it took to create and maintain such fine restaurants as Chops, Oceanaire and The Tilted Kilt?

Now I finally know how 76% of the people could elect the embarrassment that is Victor Hill. Nobody taught them how to equate sense with common sense.


November 26th, 2012
8:42 pm

Clayton. More to be pitied than censored.


November 26th, 2012
8:52 pm

Okay. I live in Clayton County. Please direct me to the “nice” restaurants on Tara Blvd. so that I can go there. Seriously…we continue to inflict pain on ourselves by voting for people who are only in it for themselves.


November 26th, 2012
8:56 pm

It’s sad when when representatives of your county defend a criminal.

Predatory Lender

November 26th, 2012
9:19 pm

Pinstripes please.


November 26th, 2012
10:51 pm

I am not defending Hill who I think is a little man in terms of his attitude and actions when he was sheriff. That said, let’s stop acting like this only happens for Democrats. There is a Republican Congressman under federal investigation in NY and he was re-elected. My point is voters on both sides sometimes do stupid things and that is the price we pay for our form of democracy. That said, the voters of Clayton County deserve whatever embarassment Hill will reap upon them!

Look before I leap...

November 26th, 2012
10:54 pm

I find the ‘libtard’ comment in a previous post especially amusing. With the likes of Deal, Rogers and Graves certain to hold office as long as they have an R next to their names on the ballot, the words pot, kettle, black immediately spring to mind.

Mama Says

November 26th, 2012
11:49 pm

I think it’s obvious who is crazy and who is sane.

The fact that you have an entire delegation of democrats defending a man who is under a 37 count criminal indictment tells a lot about the entire problem with democrats an their race based politics.

This group is so intent on grabbing some of that 76% of the vote that they will put 100% of anyone who lives in or travels through at risk.

At some point the ‘they do it too’ excuse will come back on you. Since the Democratic Party is where the majority of minorities call home, it is now the Democratic Party asking the govenor to stand aside and allow a criminal to perpetrate more dysfunction and blight upon their own citizens.

Given the fact Clayton County is 80% black it is only the minorities that this mindset harms.

Live as you like race baiters, on this issue you will be paying the price alone. nobody else but your own race will suffer when you condone the act of race baiting this issue.

Victor Hill we have his due process, it is already under way. Indictment has been handed down, a judge has reviewed the facts and in Victors interest thrown out some of the charges, and now the Appeals Court has the case. All before he has even been required to walk into a courtroom.

Due process does not equate to holding public office, it equates to criminal prosecution. If he is found not guilty he can take office.

Buckhead Boy

November 27th, 2012
5:24 am

This is a recurring problem with an anachronistic, elective office and one hardly unique to Clayton. It can be found in growing, wealthy counties with white office holders. Do the names Martin, Bonner and Jarvis ring a bell from DeKalb County’s heyday? It can be found in small, rural counties like Talbot and large, urban one’s like Fulton. It can be found about everywhere throughout the recent history of this state. If you live in a county that has not experienced a similar problem with the office of sheriff, I suppose that you have right to criticize Clayton. However, it is improbable that you do live in such a county. So, let’s just say what we do when this happens to us — regrettable — and forego the spurious attributions to political affiliation, race or socio-economic condition.


November 27th, 2012
6:37 am

Having Clayton County around makes it less painful to have to live in Fulton.

[...] From Jim Galloway’s Political Insider: [...]

South GA Food Taxer

November 27th, 2012
7:48 am

I read the letter. My colleague must be a product of the Clayton County school system.

Edmund Ruffin

November 27th, 2012
8:02 am

“………….drive down to Clayton County to eat at a nice restaurant on Tara Boulevard………” Really, there is a nice restaurant on Tara Blvd? The only one that comes close is the Chik fil A. Clayton County is a joke. I grew up in Clayton County way, way back when it was a nice county. It ceased being a nice county when Atlanta torn down their Section 8 housing.

Chris Murphy

November 27th, 2012
8:12 am

@GA Peach: that’s what I was going to say; uh, there *is* a nice restaurant on Tara Blvd.??


November 27th, 2012
8:26 am

Modern day lynching of Victor Hill? High tech lynching of Clarence Thomas? American politics or the plot to The Oxbow Incident?


November 27th, 2012
8:46 am

@ Look before I leap….You left off Balfour…

shelley wynter

November 27th, 2012
8:59 am

Lets say you work for a fortune 500 company. You and a co worker are up for a position. Your co worker gets it and proceeds to tell upper management that you are a thief, a bad employee, and generally bad for the company. This is what happened to Hill. He was not charged nor investigated UNTIL he announced he was running for re-election. And his charges all came from the guy who beat in the election. Also note that a judge has THROWN out all felony charges so Jim to say he faces felony charges is not true. I agree with all of you that clayco is in shambles and there are many horrible pols there (scott, davenport etc) but they have elected some excellent new comers (Turner) and can turn it around. Hill was good for clayco and people liked him so they voted for him. And for those of you who want to say the voters are stupid-consider we elected a governor who was under ethics charges by his co-workers WHILE he was running. We got majority leader who ran a gambling tout sight under an assumed name and we have democrats who cant even pay taxes. So clayton county voters are not the only ones who elect people that are questionable. But Hill is not questionable he was shot at by his political foe not by some outside, independent group.


November 27th, 2012
9:37 am

When did this issue become about race or political party? It is about the top law enforcement officer of the Clayton County being indicted on criminal charges. He should be removed from office until the matter is resolved (thereby reducing the chances of him interfering with the legal process).


November 27th, 2012
9:46 am

i live in clayton co.i did not vote for victor hill many other did not. so all in clayton co. are not stupid.

shelley wynter

November 27th, 2012
9:50 am

@hide-n-Seek so if your political trumps up charges on you you should be forced to sit out part of your term until court hears case. In this case, court was hearing case then after felony charges were dropped by judge prosecutor then went to appeals court extending case for one year. As a fiscal conservative, I am outraged you would spend more money than you have to to do this. As a conservative, I appalled that a charge can be leveled at someone and it be taken to appeals for a year and not be substantiated. As a conservative, this is the epitome of big govt and what DOnt thread on me really means. all felony charges were dropped by the judge, then the prosecutor appealed now you are telling me it is a tea party, conservative ideal to extend and spend more money? Come on. If you believe in smaller govt and govt intrusion on your life-this case is it. Imagine if your neighbor said “He sells drugs” no evidence but cops will crash in your house. and they you stand with all of us who read about it in paper saying “hide-n-Seek was a drug dealer? wow he/she should be fired immediately. I cannot believe he/she job is keeping his /her job.

Don't Tread

November 27th, 2012
10:07 am

I’m all for the concept of “innocent until proven guilty”, but the standards should be a little bit tighter for law enforcement, and especially in this case since the alleged deeds were done in an official capacity during his last tenure as sheriff.

There should be a law passed that says you can’t assume elected office until any pending criminal cases are resolved with a verdict of “not guilty” on all counts. We have enough teflon-coated crooks in office that we can’t get rid of due to lack of evidence.

shelley wynter

November 27th, 2012
10:23 am

@dont tread I agree wholeheartedly and i would stand next to you on that all day long. However, when the charges are brought by the guy who you are running against it kinda makes it cloudy and very murky. BTW, have you read the charges? if not pls do you would be surprised at what he is/was charged with. One charge which stemmed from the overall RICO charge which has been thrown out is putting gas in his car which was alleged to be stolen because he took it out of the county. not sure what your dont tread means to you but to me this is what dont tread means to me.

Mr. Beal

November 27th, 2012
10:27 am

Gov. Deal steps into Clayton to suspend Victor Hill = political fiasco on his hands, but only in Clayton County;

Gov. Deal respects the wishes of the voters in Clayton = political nightmare coming from the rest of the State bc hearing that a criminal is being allowed to take office will be an embarrassment for all Georgians;

The national headlines won’t be “socially and politically misaligned Clayton County swears in sheriff under indictment, Governor decides to respect their choice,” it will be: “metro county in Georgia has sworn in sheriff under criminal indictment, Republican Governor sits twiddling his thumbs”

Trolling Motor

November 27th, 2012
10:29 am

Wait, there are nice restaurants on Tara Blvd.? This man is out of his mind!


November 27th, 2012
12:54 pm

@shelley wynter

“He was not charged nor investigated UNTIL he announced he was running for re-election.”

That’s false. Hill was indicted in January 2012, after a year-long grand jury investigation. He only announced he was running in late 2011, shortly before the indictment but LONG after the investigation began.

“And his charges all came from the guy who beat in the election.”

No, the charges came from the grand jury. Not the sheriff.

“Also note that a judge has THROWN out all felony charges so Jim to say he faces felony charges is not true.”

Completely untrue. Hill was charged with 37 felonies, and the judge threw out just 5 of them (and that decision is being appealed). Victor Hill is still facing 32 felony charges.