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In his written statement, Durham denied hitting the inmate's head against the wall. He put together a case file on the incident and handed it over to a sergeant, who would pass it on to internal affairs.
As the sergeant was reading through the file, he noticed that Coppage's statement was missing. Internal affairs' summary of the case states: "Deputy Durham initially tried to delete the written statement of D.O. Coppage, but he (Sgt. Griffin), ordered Deputy Durham to include Coppage's statement in the report package."
Internal affairs concluded that the evidence in the case shows that Durham physically abused the inmate and tried to "misrepresent the facts."
Chief Deputy Caudell Jones, however, decided that Durham's only violation was verbal abuse. Jones wrote Durham a letter stating he might suspend him for a day. But Jones opted instead to give Durham a written warning.
In his nine years as a deputy, Durham has been written up 20 times, on charges ranging from tardiness to alleged physical abuse. He's received a total two suspensions -- and 12 written warnings.
Burst eardrum No. 1
Bradford said he "placed his hand gently" on Parks' back and slapped him in the chest, to keep the rowdy inmate at bay.
The inmate said Bradford hit him on the side of the head. That blow -- and not a hand on the back or slap to his chest -- was what started the blood flowing out of his ear, he told internal affairs.
A month-and-a-half later, Parks took a lie detector test. When asked if Bradford grabbed him and hit his left ear, he answered yes. The machine concluded he was telling the truth.
Bradford took the test, too. According to the polygraphist administering the test, Bradford was "rude and not cooperative." The polygraphist then asked Bradford if he grabbed Parks and hit him in the head. Bradford said no. The machine concluded he was lying.
The deputy got a letter in January 2000 informing him that the sheriff's department was considering firing him for bursting Parks' eardrum and lying about it. Two weeks later, he got a letter stating he would instead receive a written warning.
In the next two years, Bradford was accused of six more cases of inmate abuse. None was substantiated. He was informed, however, in a September letter from Chief Jones: "Please, be advised to use precautionary measures of Use of Force at all times when in contact with inmates."
Drinking and Driving -- Part II
On June 17, a man named Benjamin Smith pulled into the parking lot of a sports bar on Ponce de Leon Avenue, according to an Atlanta police report. Two men jumped from their car and yelled at Smith that they were going to kick his ass for taking their parking spot. As Smith was driving home 45 minutes later, he realized the two guys from earlier were tailing him.
The car crept up, the report states. It rear-ended Smith's car. Both vehicles edged closer to City Hall East. Smith dialed 911 on his cell phone. Seconds later, he pulled into the entrance of Atlanta police headquarters.
"You need to get that guy," Smith yelled to two Atlanta officers, pointing at the car making a quick U-turn, the report states. "He is chasing me. He just rammed my car."
Officer M. Connor flashed his cruiser's lights and took off. He caught up with the car and pulled it over. The driver stepped out. He walked toward Connor.
"Put your hands in the air," Connor warned. But the man reached into his back pocket instead. Connor repeated the order.
"Check my wallet," the man said, raising his hands in the air.
"Are you a police officer?" Connor asked.
"Yes," the man answered.
The officer pulled the man's wallet and found a Fulton Sheriff's Department identification card, according to the report. Then he peered through the car's window; a half-empty beer bottle sat on the driver's seat, next to a semi-automatic pistol. An open bottle of Southern Comfort lay on the back seat.
There was no record of this incident in the internal affairs documents the sheriff department provided CL. According to Atlanta police documents, Deon Johnson was charged with DUI, improper lane change, following too closely and open container. The case is pending.
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