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Press Release

Former Jail Administrator Sentenced for Depriving Inmate of Medical Care

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Oklahoma

WASHINGTON – 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 that a former McClain County, Oklahoma, Jail Administrator, Wayne Barnes, was sentenced today 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.

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. The indictment alleged that K.W. was an insulin-dependent diabetic who received neither insulin nor medical evaluation between June 16, 2013, until the afternoon of June 19, 2013. On that day, according to the Indictment, Barnes observed K.W. lying on the floor of his cell, unresponsive. Only then did Barnes direct a corrections officer to call emergency medical services, who found K.W.’s pupils fixed and dilated upon their arrival. K.W. died on June 21, 2013, having never regained consciousness. The indictment alleged that Barnes knew that K.W. had a serious medical condition and willfully failed to provide him with necessary medical care, and that his failure to do so resulted in K.W.’s death.

At his change of plea hearing, Barnes admitted that he was made aware between June 16 and June 19, 2013, that K.W. had been booked into the McClain County Jail, and that K.W. represented that he was a Type-1 diabetic who required insulin. Barnes further admitted that he failed to obtain 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.

"Every law enforcement officer in this country takes an oath to uphold the United States Constitution," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Gore. "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."

"Inmates deserve and the law requires that adequate medical care be provided by penal institutions," said U.S. Attorney Yancey. "Denying necessary medical treatment is inhuman and unconstitutional."

This case was investigated by the Oklahoma City Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation 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.

Updated February 26, 2018

Civil Rights