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Jury finds in favor of woman who says Oklahoma County jail detention officers assaulted her nearly 10 years ago

A civil jury awarded Dionne A. McKinney $39,000 in actual damages in a case in which she alleged Oklahoma County jail detention officers used excessive force against her. An unspecified amount in punitive damages was reached during settlement outside court.
by Tim Willert Modified: December 17, 2012 at 8:17 pm •  Published: December 17, 2012

A civil jury in Oklahoma County has awarded a former inmate $39,000 in actual damages after finding that jail detention officers used excessive force against the woman nearly 10 years ago.

Jurors returned verdicts Friday in favor of plaintiff Dionne A. McKinney on two excessive-force claims against Sheriff John Whetsel, including negligent infliction of excessive force, court documents show.

“We do find by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant, John Whetsel, in his individual capacity, acted in reckless disregard of the rights of others,” jurors answered on the verdict form.

Whetsel's attorney could not be reached for comment.

Panel members were scheduled to return Monday to continue deliberating punitive damages, but attorneys for both sides reached a settlement over the weekend, court officials said. The amount of that award was not immediately known.

Also Friday, jurors found in favor of the Oklahoma County board of commissioners, a co-defendant, on the second excessive force claim. The panel found in favor of Whetsel and the board on a third claim of failure to provide adequate medical care to McKinney.

McKinney alleged in court papers she was beaten without provocation by female officers in May 2003 while being booked into the Oklahoma County jail on a complaint of driving under the influence.

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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