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Press Release

Former Oklahoma Undersheriff Sentenced For Using Excessive Force And Violating Civil Rights of Detainee

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A former Oklahoma undersheriff was sentenced to 22 months in prison and three months of supervised release for violating the civil rights of a handcuffed detainee by using excessive force. 

On Nov. 8, 2022, Kendall Bryan Morgan, 45, pleaded guilty to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law. At the plea hearing, Morgan, the former undersheriff in the LeFlore County Sheriff’s Department, admitted that on Jan. 25, 2017, he repeatedly struck a person under arrest and in handcuffs, causing the victim bodily injury. At the time of the assault, the individual was not resisting arrest and posed no threat to officers or the public. Morgan’s excessive force furthered no legitimate law enforcement purpose and violated the victim’s constitutional right to be free from unreasonable force by law enforcement.

“This defendant abused his authority as a law enforcement officer and violated the public’s trust by repeatedly assaulting and injuring a handcuffed arrestee,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to hold accountable those officers who abuse their authority, wherever such abuses occur.”

“The reputation of the entire law enforcement profession is tarnished when an officer betrays the oath to protect and serve,” said Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Gray of the FBI Oklahoma City Field Office. “The sentencing of Mr. Morgan sends a clear message that the FBI will not tolerate anyone who dishonors the badge by using excessive force.”

“Law enforcement officers are bound by oath to serve and protect all citizens equally – this requires consistency, compassion, and respect for the dignity of all,” said U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Wilson for the Eastern District of Oklahoma. “The defendant violated that oath, and justice demands he pay the price for blatantly disregarding the law and the civil rights of others.”

Morgan will remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshal pending transportation to a designated U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to serve a non-paroleable sentence of incarceration.

Assistant Attorney General Clarke, U.S. Attorney Wilson and Special Agent in Charge Gray made the announcement.

The FBI Oklahoma City Field Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jarrod Leaman for the Eastern District of Oklahoma and Trial Attorney Avner Shapiro of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section prosecuted the case.

Updated July 14, 2023

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 23-763