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Corrections Officer Convicted of Civil Rights Violation for Intentionally Putting Black Inmates in Cell Block With White Supremacists

A federal jury convicted a former Oklahoma corrections officer of violating the civil rights of two Black pretrial detainees by intentionally putting them in an area where White supremacists could assault them.

On Friday a jury convicted 53-year-old Matthew Ware of willfully depriving two inmates 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.

According to the Department of Justice, on May 18, 2017, Ware, who at the time was a  lieutenant at the Kay County Detention Center, intentionally moved two Black inmates, D’ Angelo Wilson and Marcus Miller, into a cell row known to house white supremacists, then ordered their cells unlocked.

As expected, the white supremacists attacked Wilson and Miller leaving them both injured, with Wilson needing seven stitches to close a cut on his face. 

Less than a year later, in January 2018, Ware, who by this time had moved up to acting captain of the detention center, ordered two corrections officers to retrain inmate Christopher Davis in a position with each wrist held on opposite sides of a bench for 90 minutes, resulting in physical injury. According to the Department of Justice, this was Ware’s way of punishing Davis for writing a letter criticizing his methods. 

Ware faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $ 250,000 for each of the three violations.

Sentencing will take place in approximately 90 days.

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