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Mom suing Clayton Co. sheriff after baby dies days after birth

The federal lawsuit is the latest suit against suspended Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill for claims of mistreatment under his watch inside the county jail.

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — In Sept. of 2019 Tiana Hill was booked into the Clayton County Jail, and according to a lawsuit filed in federal court seeking at least $25 million in damages, "it was noted that she was pregnant."

In the suit, Hill also claims she asked for medical attention on numerous occasions and "Although Ms. Hill repeatedly requested prenatal care, she received no medical attention for her pregnancy from the jail."

Then on Dec. 29, she went into labor and was admitted to the jail infirmary where she "pleaded with the jail to be sent to a hospital." 

"She was not sent to a medical facility. The jail suspected Ms. Hill had a miscarriage. She was kept in the jail infirmary," the suit reads.

Thirteen hours later, Hill gave birth to her child and the pair were taken to a hospital, where the child died days later, according to the suit. 

Filed in federal court, the lawsuit names several defendants including Sheriff Victor Hill, who has since been suspended in connection with another federal case, along with the Clayton County Board of Commissioners, the jail's medical provider, and doctor. 

In the wrongful death lawsuit, Tiana Hill's attorney claims her constitutional rights were violated. 

11Alive has requested comment in response to the lawsuit from the attorney representing Victor Hill and the county. Court records show the attorney has filed a motion to have the lawsuit dismissed, which a federal judge has yet to rule on. 

The wrongful death lawsuit is at least the seventh active federal case against the currently suspended sheriff. 

In June 2020, a former inmate filed a lawsuit against Hill claiming his civil rights were violated while in the jail after being strapped to a restraint chair for several hours. 

In July of 2020, Hill and several other top jail administrators were sued over claims of civil rights violations that were made in connection with alleged failures to properly protect inmates from the spread of COVID-19. The complaints included overcrowded cells, a lack of personal protective equipment, and limited access to cleaning and sanitation supplies.

Then in April of 2021, a federal grand jury indicted Hill on federal civil rights violations, related to four instances of inmates being placed in restraint chairs for hours at a time under Hill's watch. 

Hill has pleaded not guilty to all federal charges. 

The incidents described in the indictment all took place in 2020 and each inmate claims to have been strapped in the chair for hours which "caused physical pain and resulted in bodily injury."

The Clayton County Sheriff's Office has an "inmate restraint chair" policy, according to court records, that was approved by Hill. It reads: "a restrain chair may be used by security staff to provide safe containment of an inmate exhibiting violent or uncontrollable behavior and to prevent self-injury, injury to others or property when other control techniques are not effective."

All four victims in the indictment though are described as being placed in the chair while being "unarmed, not under the influence of drugs, and offered no resistance."

One man allegedly wasn't allowed to use the restroom and "urinated on the restraint chair."

Hill is quoted as telling two of the victims if they repeat the crimes they were accused of, "I'm a sit your a*** in that chair for sixteen hours straight. Do you understand me? I need to hear from both of y'all that y'all not gonna show y'all's a** in my county no more."

The federal case has been listed as ready for trial.

Following the federal indictment, Hill was suspended as sheriff by Governor Brian Kemp in June of 2021. The suspension is still in place. 

Late last year, Hill appealed the suspension in Fulton County Superior Court, but a judge rejected his lawsuit seeking to overturn the suspension

This week, Clayton County Sheriff's Office Attorney Alan Parker announced in a statement posted online that an appeal of the suspension has now been filed with the Georgia Supreme Court. 

"The law states that if a suspended official is not tried at the first term of court, he is to be reinstated to his office," Parker wrote. "The law is very clear that suspension of officials by the Governor is of a limited duration. The appeal is being filed because the Fulton County Judge that was assigned to hear the case stated on record that she did not think she had the authority to make the decision to reinstate Sheriff Hill."

Then in July of 2021, another former inmate filed a federal lawsuit in connection with the claims of civil rights violations connected to the use of restraint chairs in the jail. 

In August of 2021, a former inmate claimed in a lawsuit against Hill and several of his deputies that he was "almost killed" and received "life-altering brain damage" while an inmate at the Clayton County Jail. 

In September of 2021 Hill was named as a defendant in a third lawsuit connected to a former inmate claiming civil rights violations connected to the use of restraint chairs in the Clayton County Jail. The county's deputy sheriff is also named as a defendant in the case.

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