Former Oklahoma Jail Administrator Sentenced for Denying Inmate of Healthcare
A former McClain County, Oklahoma, Jail Administrator, Wayne Barnes was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Stephen P. Friot to 51 months in prison and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for his conviction on a charge that he violated an inmate’s civil rights by depriving him of medical care, resulting in the inmate’s death. Barnes pleaded guilty to the charge on February 9, 2017. Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Mark A. Yancey of the Western District of Oklahoma jointly announced the decision on Wednesday August 9th, 2017.
Barnes was indicted by a grand jury in October 2016 and charged with a one-count federal criminal civil rights violation arising out of the death of K.W., a detainee who was housed at the jail in June 2013. K.W. was an insulin-dependent diabetic the indictment alleged, who received neither insulin nor medical evaluation between June 16, 2013 until the afternoon of June 19, 2013. According to the indictment, Barnes observed K.W. lying on the floor of his cell, unresponsive. At that point Barnes directed a corrections officer to call emergency medical services, the medical staff responded and found K.W.’s pupils to be fixed and dilated. K.W. later died on June 21, 2013, never regained consciousness from the time medical services responded. The indictment goes on to allege that Barnes knew that K.W. had a serious medical condition and willfully failed to provide him with necessary medical care. This willful failure on Barnes’s part resulted in KW’s death.
Was was grated a change of plea hearing, at that point Barnes admitted that he was aware that between June 16 and June 19, 2013, K.W. had been booked into the McClain County Jail, and that the now inmate informed all that he was a Type-1 diabetic who required insulin. Barnes went on to admit his failure to secure medical care for K.W. and that, in doing so, he willfully denied K.W.’s Constitutional right to medical care. Barnes also admitted that his failure to obtain the required medical care resulted in K.W.’s death.
Assistant Attorney General Gore stated “Every law enforcement officer in this country takes an oath to uphold the United States Constitution,” Gore continued to say “The Constitution ensures that persons detained pending the adjudication of charges against them are entitled to necessary medical care. This sentence affirms the importance of that right and underscores the continuing commitment of the Civil Rights Division to hold officers accountable to their oaths.”
U.S. Attorney Yancey added, “Inmates deserve and the law requires that adequate medical care be provided by penal institutions. Denying necessary medical treatment is inhuman and unconstitutional.”
The Oklahoma City Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation the case and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Julia Barry of the Western District of Oklahoma and Deputy Chief Kristy Parker of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.
Contact a Jones Brown Civil Rights Attorney
Law enforcement and prison guards have certain legal obligations to the inmates that they detain. When a citizen is taken into custody, the police department and the jail assume responsibility for the safety and well-being of that person. If they fail to protect the inmates, then the city, county, or state can be held liable for their actions or inactions.
It’s important to remember that although these individuals have been convicted of a crime, the criminal system still has legal and moral obligations to execute their daily duties in a humane manner. CLICK HERE to contact Jones Brown with your Civil Rights case.