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Indicted Fulton deputy is 'not necessarily the last'

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A Fulton County deputy who received a measly five-day suspension from the Sheriff's Department for bursting an inmate's eardrum and whose misdeed was reported in a 2001 CL story was indicted Aug. 8 for the same attack.

Deputy Orlando Jones, one of the nine Fulton lawmen whose alleged abusive behavior was detailed in internal affairs reports obtained for the 2001 story, now faces charges of aggravated assault, aggravated battery and violation of oath by a public officer.

A bench warrant was issued for Jones, who turned himself in to authorities Aug. 18 and was released on $25,000 bond.

The indictment could be the first of several to arise from a year-long investigation by the Fulton District Attorney's Office. DA Paul Howard launched the probe after grand jurors familiar with CL's coverage were listening to allegations against a man named Tim Peck, another victim of alleged brutality by a Fulton deputy, and urged Howard to look into several deputies' actions.

"It is the first indictment out of a number of cases that came over in July of last year, after the grand jury's request for an investigation," Fulton DA spokesman Erik Friedly says. "And it is not necessarily the last. There's still a good deal to go through."

Jones' charges stem from an incident that took place while he was working at the jail in October 1999. Jones had refused to let inmate Rodney Hubbard use the bathroom and Hubbard complained, according to internal affairs documents. So Jones grabbed Hubbard's face, and punched him in the left side of his head.

Another deputy witnessed the assault and had to give Hubbard a tissue to catch the blood dripping from his ear, according to documents. Hubbard was treated the following day at Grady Memorial Hospital for a perforated eardrum.

Jones, who told internal affairs investigators that he never touched Hubbard but did counsel him, failed a lie-detector test during which he denied hitting the inmate. It was the third test Jones had taken for three separate allegations of inmate abuse; he denied the allegations during the previous two tests and failed those, too.

Hubbard's attorney, Steven Berne, told CL in 2001 that his client threatened to file suit against the county but settled before a lawsuit was drafted. Berne refused to disclose the settlement amount.

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