CLAYTON COUNTY, GA - According to Clayton County Sheriff Deputy, Lieutenant Guthrie, the federal investigation into Sheriff Victor Hill stems from a dispute involving the lieutenant and a contractor. In 2020, Guthrie had a dispute with a local contractor that resulted in Guthrie firing the contractor. Guthrie claims the contractor was aggressive, threatening and came back to his home at odd hours harassing his family and girlfriend. Guthrie called the Jackson County authorities on the contractor multiples times, but is unclear as to the outcome of their investigation. Policy at the Clayton County Sheriff's Office mandates that all deputies inform command staff if they have any contact with law enforcement. Guthrie followed protocol and informed his supervisors of the incident, including Sheriff Hill.
Guthrie says Hill wanted to help remedy the issue peacefully and called the contractor in an attempt to amicably resolve the matter. According to Guthrie, the contractor became irate, started cursing and Hill ended the conversation. Guthrie says the contractor proceeded to excessively call and facetime Sheriff Hill after the sheriff informed him to stop calling. Hill then obtained a warrant for the contractors arrest, signed by a Clayton County Magistrate Court Judge after reviewing the evidence for "harassing communications", a crime in Georgia.
Guthrie tells WAOK when the Clayton County Sheriff's Office went to Butts County to serve the arrest warrant for the contractor, the Butts County Sheriff, Gary Long, a well-known Republican and Trump supporter, told Clayton deputies to get out of his county and refused to assist with executing the warrant. Guthrie was not part of team that went to Butts county to apprehend the target of the arrest warrant. Sheriff Long was recently in hot water with protestors over an incident where Butts County residents claimed one of his deputies called a Black suspect "monkey" during an arrest. Activists demanded Long fully investigate the matter, but no official investigation was pursued. Many familiar with the case have speculated that Sheriff Long has a personal connection to the contractor. Under Georgia law, sheriff deputies are allow to enter any jurisdiction to serve arrest warrants.
Guthrie says the contractor eventually turned himself in to Clayton County authorities to satisfy the warrant. Based on reports, at some point inside of Clayton County Jail, the contractor was placed in a restraint chair, which is used by police agencies to protect inmates from injuring themselves or others. Guthrie says the FBI contacted him about the use of this device, which is at the heart of their indictment against Hill. Guthrie agreed to be interviewed by the FBI because he "had nothing to hide". Guthrie says the FBI were incredibly “secretive” and he felt the whole interaction was just “off”.
Guthrie says Sheriff Hill did nothing illegal and holds his staff to a high standard of courtesy at the agency. According to Guthrie, the investigation and indictment is politically-motivated against Hill.
Listen to the full interview below.