Fulton County Sheriff Robert Hill was the Watch Commander of the jail at the time was just convicted by a federal jury for the beating of an inmate as well as lying to federal authorities among other convictions. The trial lasted a total of three days while it only took a jury 5 hours to return a guilty verdict.
Hip Hop Enquirer’s Dennis Byron was at federal court house during former Sheriff Hill’s arraignment. According to the evidence presented in court HILL, a former sheriff’s lieutenant assigned to the Fulton County Jail, was in charge of the facility as the Watch Commander on August 9, 2008. During a morning roll call, HILL made remarks to his staff which included a directive regarding the use of force against inmates. According to witnesses and HILL’s own recollection of the event, he told his subordinate officers that if an inmate touches an officer, that inmate should go to Grady Hospital.
Later that very day, Inmate Christopher Trammell, a pre-trial detainee with mental health issues, was involved in a physical altercation with a number of detention officers including HILL. HILL was injured during the altercation. Eyewitnesses testified and a video surveillance recording showed that after the altercation, HILL picked Trammell up from the floor and escorted him into a nearby nurse station, which did not have a window and was not equipped with a surveillance camera. A group of at least eleven detention officers followed HILL and Inmate Trammell into the room. The video surveillance recording shows that after the group entered the room, the door was closed. Five officers testified that inside the room, HILL assaulted Trammell. Several of the witnessed testified that HILL struck Trammell multiple times about his face and head. Witnesses also said that after the assault, Trammell was bleeding from his face and blood was left on the floor of the nurse station.
Evidence presented also included HILL’s report about the incident, which did not mention any use of force against Trammell inside the nurse station. In an interview with an FBI agent during the investigation of the matter, HILL insisted that he “in no way witnessed” Trammell being assaulted in the nurse station. HILL did, however, admit to an FBI agent, that he made the statement at roll call about sending inmates to Grady Hospital. According to the FBI agent, HILL quoted himself saying “if an inmate puts a hand on staff, then he is going to Grady.” HILL further explained to the agent that this is the custom of the jail – “meaning you will get your (deleted) whooped.”
According to the testimony of three officers who witnessed the assault, HILL met with them numerous times following his interview with the FBI. These witnesses testified that HILL repeatedly told them that nothing illegal happened in the nurse station and that they should “stick to the story” if they were questioned about the incident by federal authorities.
HHE attempted to question Hill outside the court house about the allegations of his alleged abuse of the inmate however he denied any truth to the charges. Often times there are prison guards who are responsible for safeguarding the well being of inmates and staff however there is a hand full who believes that administering their own justice is appropriate since they are in this position of power. Today the government sent a clear message to law enforcement personnel across the country that civil rights violation of inmates/prisoners will be dealt with.
On March 20, 2009 another deputy became the first of the three to be chared with abusing inmates. Deputy Curtis Jerome Brown Jr., 41 and of Lithonia, was charged with beating a mentally ill inmate, who later died, and then lying to federal agents about it.
Inmate Richard Glasco — in jail on numerous charges — had started kicking and pounding his fists on the cell door and window and later was found unconscious, according to a jail report on the March 19, 2008, incident.
Hill is scheduled to be sentenced on May 17, 2010 in US Federal Court and if the judge throws the book at him, he will likely receive up to 80 years in prison.
It must be noted that in most cases when a inmate is in a county jail awaiting trial they are presumed innocent and does not fall under the same criteria as someone convicted and sentenced to a state or federal prison. If you have a family member or loved one incarcerated and you believe their civil rights are being violated report it to the proper authorities and also get a good attorney because chances are if the allegations are proven to be true they might be able to file a lawsuit.
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