A civil trial is under way in Oklahoma County pitting Sheriff John Whetsel against a former inmate who says she was beaten and humiliated by jail detention officers nearly 10 years ago.
Whetsel was in court Monday for opening statements by his attorneys and lawyers for Dionne A. McKinney, of Oklahoma City.
McKinney alleges 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.
Federal claims filed by McKinney in May 2006 were dismissed; the case is being heard in district court.
The woman's attorney, Aletia H. Timmons, told jurors her client was assaulted by five to six officers after she asked to use the restroom.
Timmons said the officers slammed McKinney's head against a concrete wall and then threw her to the ground and kicked her. An unidentified officer, the attorney alleged, rubbed McKinney's genitals as she attempted to change out of a dress into orange coveralls.
McKinney, according to court papers, was placed in a holding cell and was taunted by officers. They ignored her requests for medical aid and made her crawl from her cell to a holding room on her hands and knees, the attorney said Monday.
She suffered a broken toe, strained shoulder ligaments and various cuts and bruises, the attorney said.
“She's had a tough life,” Timmons said of McKinney, a single mother of three. “But they almost broke her that night.”
Attorneys for Whetsel denied the allegations, telling jurors “nothing happened” on the night in question.
McKinney, the attorneys said, was “obstinate,” “uncooperative” and “verbally combative,” and “right where she belonged” because she broke the law.
They accused McKinney of fabricating the incident and said they plan to attack her credibility.