A 49-year-old former Oklahoma County jail detention officer was arrested Monday, accused of beating an inmate with a set of metal keys, court records show.
The incident is the second such case in the past two months at the county jail.
A probable cause affidavit filed in the case by an Oklahoma County sheriff's investigator recommends former detention officer Michael Coleman, of Oklahoma City, be charged with one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and two counts of possession of contraband in a penal institution.
Court records state Coleman “used his fists and a set of metal keys to strike” inmate Shawn Rose, 19, who is at the jail awaiting transfer to a state prison.
Coleman also is charged with possessing contraband because investigators found a working cellphone and a seven-inch folding knife when they searched him after his arrest, documents state.
Rose, who is doing time for second-degree burglary out of Adair County, wrote a letter to The Oklahoman after the incident with Coleman describing his version of events.
Rose said his conflict with Coleman arose when he asked the former detention officer why he and the other Corrections Department inmates weren't being given their “recreation” time.
Rose said in the letter that Coleman refused to allow the inmates out “because he didn't want to.”
“So I stepped to the side of my cell … and said, ‘Then call a sergeant or a lieutenant so I can speak to them,” Rose wrote. “He told me he ain't calling no one … and out of nowhere he hit me with his sight-check wand.”
Rose described the wand as “a piece of metal and plastic … that they use to do (head) count on the doors here.”
Rose suffered cuts to left ear and had to be treated by the jail's medical staff, he said in the letter. He said an investigator photographed his injuries, and that he was told by jail staff that a video of the incident was in their possession.
The inmate said he is now seeking “a good lawyer.” He said jail staff told him to hire an attorney.
“I'm suing,” Rose concluded in the letter. “I'm trying to get Irven Box on my case!”
Box is a well-known local attorney who frequently represents clients involved in high-profile cases.
Mark Myers, spokesman for the Oklahoma County sheriff's department, said Coleman was dealt with swiftly.
“Within an hour of the incident, the inmate was checked out by our medical staff and the guard was arrested,” Myers said. “The guard was terminated, arrested and booked all that day.”
The assault involving Coleman and Rose is the second such case reported at the county jail in the past two months.
Former detention officer Travis Ingram, 22, was accused of assaulting inmate Roman Johnson in mid-July.
Ingram has been charged with assault and battery in Oklahoma County District Court.
According to court documents, Ingram threw the inmate to the ground at least twice and “put his hand around the throat and choked inmate Johnson, whose hands were handcuffed behind his back and both his feet in leg shackles.”
Ingram, of Yukon, also was arrested in June on domestic abuse complaint.
Court records show that he threw his girlfriend of eight months to the ground twice and then “would not let her up.”
Jail has struggles
The struggles at the Oklahoma County jail are well-documented.
In March, the U.S. Justice Department sent a letter to county officials warning them that serious problems with the jail's medical and mental health treatment programs must be addressed.
The letter indicates that at least seven deaths reported at the jail since March 2011 were due, at least in part, to clinical missteps, inadequate assessments and a lack of follow-ups on the part of the facility's medical staff.
The Justice Department also warned about the jail's staffing levels and the facility itself.
CONTRIBUTING: Staff Writers Tim Willert and Zeke Campfield