WASHINGTON – Phillip Oliver, 46, an inmate at the Muskogee County, Okla., Jail (MCJ) pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Muskogee to one count of conspiracy related to the orchestrated beating of a fellow inmate at the behest of an unnamed jailer on duty.
During today’s hearing, Oliver admitted that on Oct. 6, 2011, he conspired with a jailer on duty to violate the civil rights of the victim, a fellow inmate, by assaulting him. Specifically, Oliver and the jailer agreed to use physical violence to punish the victim, who was restrained in a separate cell, because the victim was making verbal comments. According to court documents, although Oliver was concerned about getting into trouble if he assaulted the victim, the jailer assured Oliver that he would cover for him. Thereafter, the jailer remotely popped open the victim’s locked cell door so that Oliver could gain access. Oliver then punched the victim in the face, all at a time when the victim was not posing a threat to anyone.
“Violence for the purpose of punishment is a clear violation of the law and will not be tolerated,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute anyone who violates federal criminal civil rights laws.”
Oliver faces up to five years in prison. A sentencing date has not been set.
This case is being investigated by the Muskogee Resident Agency of the Oklahoma City Division of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan M. Roberts for the Eastern District of Oklahoma and Trial Attorney Fara Gold of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The department’s investigation involving this matter remains ongoing.