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A federal jury in Oklahoma City convicted former Kay County corrections officer supervisor, Matthew Ware, for facilitating White supremacist attacks on two Black inmates, as well as ordering excessive force against a third Black inmate.
The jury convicted Matthew Ware, 53, of willfully depriving two pretrial detainees of their right to be free from a corrections officer’s deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of serious harm and of willfully depriving a third pretrial detainee of the right to be free from a corrections officer’s use of excessive force.
The evidence and testimony revealed that on May 18, 2017, while Ware served as the Lieutenant of the Kay County Detention Center, he ordered lower-ranking corrections officers to move two Black pretrial detainees, D’Angelo Wilson and Marcus Miller, to a cell row housing white supremacist inmates whom Ware knew posed a danger to Wilson and Miller.
Later that same day, Ware gave lower-ranking officers a second order: to unlock the jail cells of Wilson and Miller, and those other white supremacist inmates at the same time the following morning. When Ware’s orders were followed, the White supremacist inmates attacked Wilson and Miller, resulting in physical injury to both, including a facial laceration to Wilson that required seven stitches to close.
Oklahoma Corrections Officer Supervisor convicted for racist attack
“This high-ranking corrections official had a duty to ensure that the civil rights of pretrial detainees in his custody were not violated,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
“The defendant abused his power and authority by ordering subordinate corrections officers to violate the constitutional rights of several pretrial detainees. The Civil Rights Division will continue to hold corrections officials accountable when they violate the civil rights of detainees and inmates.”
“Criminal conduct by any corrections employee violates the public trust and unfairly tarnishes the reputation of all corrections officials who honorably perform their important work each day,” said U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester for the Western District of Oklahoma. “This verdict demonstrates our continuing commitment to protect the civil rights of all Oklahomans, including those in custody. I commend the outstanding work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Julia Barry and Trial Attorney Laura Gilson, who vigorously prosecuted this case, and the FBI Special Agents and other law enforcement officials who conducted this investigation.”
Ware faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $ 250,000 for each violation. Sentencing will take place in approximately 90 days.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Kay County Detention Center is not part of the DOC. We apologize for the error.