WASHINGTON ― A federal grand jury has indicted a former jail administrator on a civil rights charge in connection with the 2013 death of a diabetic man at the McClain County Jail in Oklahoma, alleging he “willfully failed” to provide necessary medical care to the 27-year-old pretrial detainee.
Wayne Barnes, a ranking lieutenant at the jail, “exhibited deliberate indifference” to an inmate who didn’t receive medication for his Type 1 diabetes, according to the indictment handed down Tuesday. The inmate arrived at the jail on June 16, 2013, but didn’t receive medical attention until three days later, when he was found unresponsive on the floor of his cell and was taken to the hospital. The man never regained consciousness and died on June 21.
The victim, identified as K.W. in the indictment, was Kory Wilson, a father from Oklahoma City who had been arrested on a gun charge, according to news reports. His obituary said he worked in hotel restoration and “enjoyed playing video games and riding bicycles.”
Wilson’s family alleged in a lawsuit last year that an unwritten policy at the jail required approval from either Barnes or another official before an ambulance was called, and that no medical treatment given to detainees without approval. The suit alleged that Barnes accused Wilson of “faking” illness and ordered him sent back to his cell.
“Kory Wilson was too weak to sit in a chair, could not stand or walk without assistance, was slurring his words and was barely able to speak, yet Defendant Barnes told staff to put Kory Wilson back in a cell,” the lawsuit states.
The indictment says Barnes “willfully deprived” Wilson of his right to due process of law, “which includes the right of a pretrial detainee to be free from a corrections officers’ deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs.” Barnes is charged with one count of death-resulting deprivation of rights under color of law, which could potentially carry a sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The Huffington Post’s jail deaths project has identified at least a dozen individuals with diabetes who died in jails over the course of a year.
At least three of those deaths appear to have been preventable, caused by diabetic ketoacidosis, which can happen when a diabetic doesn’t have enough insulin.
Michael Carter, 35, died in Macon County Jail in Illinois on July 18, 2015. Tom Garza Jr., 27, died in the Ector County Law Enforcement Center in Texas on Nov. 10. Morgan Angerbauer, 20, died at the Bi-State Jail on the border of Texas and Arkansas on July 1 (a nurse has been charged with negligent homicide in Angerbauer’s death).
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