One of the two sheriff's lieutenants was accused of striking the inmate while he was restrained in the jail's medical ward after earlier beatings on Aug. 9. The other allegedly told subordinates that any prisoners who touched them should be beaten so badly they would need to go to Grady Memorial Hospital.
The charges against Robert W. Hill Jr., 46, of Decatur and Earl Glenn, 47, of McDonough come a month after a former jail guard was charged with beating two inmates, including a mentally ill man who later died.
"We have a series of kind of overlapping investigations of assault of inmates by folks at the jail," U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said.
He said the investigations have been thwarted by some, and prosecutors want to send a message that obstructions will not be tolerated.
Lts. Hill and Glenn were released on $10,000 bonds after their hearings Thursday.
A federal grand jury indicted both men on charges of violating the civil rights of the unidentified inmate, obstructing justice, filing a false report and making false statements to federal agents.
The inmate was beaten several times Aug. 9, and was struck by Lt. Glenn in the jail medical unit, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Gray said. He said Lt. Glenn later approached potential witnesses and told them to "stick to the story."