Spokane County Sheriff's deputy on paid leave after beating 62-year-old man so badly that jailers refused to book him

Kevin Hinton, exhausted after a long road-trip to see his newborn granddaughter, pulled over into a parking lot to grab a late-night nap. A Spokane County Sheriff's Office Sgt., Clay Hilton, woke him up and, when Hinton refused to tell him his name, beat Hinton so severely that jailers refused to book him and had him taken to hospital instead.

"Why did you hit me?" Hinton asks during the beating, which was captured on bodycam. Deputy Hilton responded: "Because you weren't listening."

Police recommended charges against [the driver] Hinton for resisting arrest and obstructing a law enforcement officer. When Note brought video of Hinton's encounter to the attention of prosecutors, they promptly dropped the case.

Hilton, the deputy, is 50 and was placed on leave in late September once Spokane County Sheriff John Nowels was notified of the encounter by the Spokane County Prosecutor's Office, according to a news release from the sheriff's office sent Friday afternoon following requests for comment from local media outlets.

The cop, Hilton, claimed he could smell marijuana in his report, but none was found in Hinton's vehicle. Moroever, Hilton's claim that it was illegal to be parked was false, according to Hinton's lawyer.

The bodycam transcript tells a familiar tale: a bored cop out looking for trouble, finding it, and enjoying it:

In the body-camera footage capturing the confrontation, Hinton tells the deputy that it's not a crime but instead a civil offense to be in the park after hours and offers to leave. Deputy Hilton then interjects and tells Hinton that he's not free to leave. The exchange between the two includes Hinton's surprise at the sudden escalation, and he then refuses to provide his identification to the officer.

Hilton then asks him: "Whose car are you in?"

The deputy asks for his name again before putting on his gloves. He asks Hilton to stand up and put his hands on the vehicle.

The deputy then puts his hands on Hinton, who says "don't put your hands on me, pal."

"You are going to get hurt," Hilton responds.

Sgt. Hilton and other officers present turned off their bodycams when they begin discussing the beating; police are required to leave it on. Only Hilton is off the streets.

Hilton, you might not be surprised to learn, has a history of public misconduct, and a local judge has openly condemned it.

"Deputy Clay Hilton's conduct since the issuance of the decision in State v. Vaile suggests that he works as a law enforcement officer not to serve others and benefit the Spokane community, but to intimidate and dominate," Fearing wrote. "I hold no ill will toward Deputy Hilton, but have concern about his anger, inability to reflect on his behavior, and insistence on retaliation. I lack confidence in his credibility."

If a judge can't do anything about this guy, what hope does anyone else have?

Bodycam footage is below:

This body camera video depicts Spokane County Sheriff's Deputy Clay Hilton arresting a 62-year-old Colfax man who had stopped to nap during a road trip, according to his attorney Josh Maurer. Hilton was placed on leave at the end of September 2023 when the Spokane County Sheriff's Office was notified of the incident by the Spokane County Prosecutor's Office.