OKLAHOMA CITY—A federal grand jury has returned a three-count indictment charging a former Kay County Oklahoma supervisory corrections officer with federal civil rights violations, announced Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Robert Troester of the Western District of Oklahoma.
The indictment alleges that on May 18, 2017, Matthew Ware, while acting in his official capacity as a supervisory corrections officer of the Kay County Detention Center (KCDC) in Newkirk, Oklahoma, was deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk of serious harm to two pretrial detainees, identified in the indictment only as D.W. and M.M. According to the indictment, Ware ordered KCDC corrections officers to move D.W. and M.M. to a cell row housing inmates whom Ware knew posed a danger to D.W. and M.M., and then ordering corrections officers to unlock the jail cells of D.W., M.M., and those other inmates at the same time. Corrections officers followed Ware’s orders, and D.W. and M.M. were physically attacked by the other inmates. D.W. and M.M. sustained bodily injury as a result.
The indictment further alleges that on January 31, 2018, Ware, while acting in his official capacity as a supervisory corrections officer of the KCDC, violated the constitutional rights of a pretrial detainee, identified in the indictment only as C.D., by ordering KCDC corrections officers to apply restraints to C.D. in an unreasonable manner. C.D. sustained bodily injury as a result.
If convicted, Ware faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $ 250,000 on each count.
The case was investigated by the Oklahoma City FBI Field Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Barry of the Western District of Oklahoma and Trial Attorney Laura Gilson of the Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.