Oklahoma County to pay $275,000 to former inmate

Dionne McKinney, who was beaten up by detention officers at the Oklahoma County jail, will receive a lump-sum payment. The settlement between McKinney, the county and Sheriff John Whetsel was agreed to in lieu of punitive damages last December.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Published: January 15, 2013
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Oklahoma County has agreed to pay $275,000 to a former inmate who was beaten up by jailers while being booked on a complaint of driving under the influence in 2003.

Attorneys representing the county and Sheriff John Whetsel agreed in December to pay the money to Dionne A. McKinney. In exchange, she agreed to stop pursuing punitive damages for the incident.

The settlement amount was officially filed at the court clerk's office on Tuesday.

McKinney's attorney, Aletia H. Timmons, told jurors during a weeklong civil trial in December that her client was beaten by female 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. She said one of the officers rubbed McKinney's genitals when she was changing into orange coveralls, and then the officers made McKinney crawl from her cell to a holding room on her hands and knees.

Jurors on Dec. 17 found in favor of McKinney on two excessive-force claims against Whetsel, including negligent infliction of excessive force, and awarded her $39,000 in actual damages.

Jurors found in favor of McKinney on one of two identical claims against the Oklahoma County board of commissioners, but found in favor of Whetsel and the board on a third claim of failure to provide adequate medical care to McKinney.

Attorneys for Whetsel and the board accused McKinney of being uncooperative and of fabricating the incident in court.

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