Former officer pleads guilty in unreasonable force case
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A former Oklahoma correctional officer has pleaded guilty to using unreasonable force on an inmate during a 2014 incident at a jail in El Reno.
Jason Barber, 41, entered the plea Thursday in federal court in Oklahoma City, The Oklahoman newspaper reported.
Barber was accused of hitting pretrial detainee Lloyd Wayne Tillman during a disciplinary hearing in December 2014.
“Our prisons and jails are very dangerous places. ... And sometimes people that work there don’t get enough support,” defense attorney Michael Johnson said. “Sometimes incidents occur and this was just one of those unfortunate incidents.”
Prosecutors have classified the offense as a misdemeanor because Tillman didn’t suffer “bodily injury.”
Tillman, who was then 35, had been booked into the jail in May 2014 for warrants related to multiple criminal counts, including unauthorized use of a vehicle and drug offenses, records show. He was moved to prison on Canadian County convictions in September 2015 and was released in March, according to records.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Shon Erwin accepted Barber’s plea and will choose his punishment at sentencing early next year. Barber faces a maximum punishment of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. The defense and prosecution are in agreement that he should be sentenced to probation.
Barber was terminated from the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office in March 2016 after another use-of-force incident occurred involving a handcuffed inmate.
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com