Warning: Graphic photos
One week later, mom has yet to see son, photos of severe wounds
Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill’s social media account posted several photos, without comment, of a blood-smeared wall, several makeshift knives, and a group of detainees gathered around a cell, on the same day that a man diagnosed with severe mental illness allegedly was stabbed 17 times.
The man’s mother, Tisha Hart, and Gerald Rose of the New Order National Human Rights Organization, say the man lives with schizophrenia and is well-known to local law enforcement and the jail. They want to know why he was not taken to a hospital and who was responsible for his safety at the time of the incident.
Deandre Hart, 29, was charged with possession of a deadly weapon by an inmate and simple assault. He was granted $10,000 bond and $1200 in fees on the weapons charge, plus $3,000 bond and $500 in fees on the assault charge. He remains in jail on June 14 charges of battery against a pregnant female and second-degree criminal damage. Hart has not been convicted on any of the charges as of press time.
Hill’s social media manager, Carl Johnson, wrote, “A lot of people would be surprised if they knew just how many inmates and their families are looking forward to the return of Sheriff Hill in October. The crime not only skyrocketed on the streets in his absence, but in the jail as well with inmate on inmate assaults going up 208%. Inmates families have also received extortion threats as reported by other local jails. Anyone who has ever took a tour of the Clayton County jail under Sheriff Hill (which was once referred to “The Hill-ton”) would know that contraband, shanks, and gang violence was virtually null and void under the strict para-military structure he had in place.
“Whoever came up with the idea/lie purporting that suspending Sheriff Hill would protect inmates might want to rethink their logic.”
The photos of a bloody wall, five bloody shivs made from filed-down metal and gauze-wrapped handles, and two images of detainees gathered around a cell door in a common area were all posted at 4:36 p.m. on July 8.
Tisha Hart says jail officials showed her only one cell phone image of minor wounds on her son’s back, but that he had at least two serious stab wounds to his face. Hart has not been allowed to see her son since the incident and has only spoken with him by phone.
CCSO told The Clayton Crescent that it could not release any documents from the investigation because it was open. However, the Georgia Open Records Act specifically states that initial incident reports and basic information like inmate sheets are subject to disclosure during an open investigation.
It’s not clear why CCSO’s social media account released the photos on the same day as the alleged incident, nor whether those were part of the investigation.
On Monday, July 11, the Clayton Crescent filed an Open Records Request seeking more information on the stabbing. On Friday morning (July 15), a CCSO officer wrote, “I will be checking in with Internal Affairs to get an update on your request. I will update you accordingly when the information is available to me.” As of press time, no new information had been provided.
The post did not appear on Hill’s other Facebook account.
Asked whether she had seen the photos, the detainee’s mother, Tisha Hart, said she had not.
“It’s sad for officers to refuse me, as a mother, pictures of my son’s injuries, but why are you [CCSO] flaunting these pictures for everyone to see?”
Hart also said she had heard from three other detainees, “who know him and who have no way to talk to each other.” Hart said they all told her that her son was attacked while he was sleeping in his cell.
According to Hart, all three told her that one man allegedly had stabbed her son in the stomach. Her son then allegedly “jumped up and got into a tussle with the guy,” she said. “He was winning, then the other seven guys came in and were stabbing him.”
One commenter on the post asked whether the incident had taken place in “6-4.” Hart said she believes her son is in Pod 6.
CCSO has not stated why it would return a detainee with severe mental illness who had been stabbed multiple times by several other detainees to general population.
Hill, although suspended from his official duties, still holds the elected office of sheriff and continues to draw his taxpayer-funded salary, pending the outcome of his federal trial on charges he abused his authority by allegedly strapping four inmates into restraining chairs for extended periods of time as punishment.
As of press time Friday, Tisha Hill said she has yet to see her son or any additional photos of his wounds.
On Thursday, in another case involving violence at the Clayton County Jail, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested a detainee on a murder charge, at CCSO’s request, after the man allegedly killed his cellmate. That case is under investigation and will be turned over to the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office for possible prosecution.
While these documents may have been updated since we received them through previous Open Records Requests, they do give some idea about expectations, policies, and procedures in the Clayton County Jail and within CCSO. We welcome additional documents, either via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by postal mail to The Clayton Crescent, P.O. Box 1865, Jonesboro, GA 30237.