An Oklahoma corrections officer is headed to prison after he was caught using white supremacist gangs to go after Black inmates in his own personal hit squad.
The Justice Department reported on Monday afternoon that Matthew Ware of the Kay County Detention Center (KCDC) was sentenced to 46 months, nearly four years, in prison. It's unclear if the prison will be the one where he worked, however.
"This defendant is being held accountable for abusing his position of power and authority to, among other things, facilitate an attack carried out by white supremacists on a Black inmate,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in a statement on the DOJ site. "This sentence handed down reflects the seriousness of the defendant’s actions and ensures accountability for his unlawful conduct. The Justice Department will continue to hold corrections officials accountable, including those in leadership positions, when they willfully violate the constitutional rights of detainees and inmates in their custody and control."
“A jury found that Mr. Ware abused his position of power over the individuals in his custody,” said U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester who serves the Western District of Oklahoma. "Today’s sentence holds him accountable for that conduct. Mr. Ware violated the laws he was sworn to uphold, betrayed the public trust and dishonored the many brave corrections officials who lawfully perform their important work each day. My office remains committed to protecting the civil rights of all Oklahomans, including those in custody."
The special agent in charge of the Oklahoma City FBI field office made sure to say that most corrections officers are honorable people doing their jobs. Those that are not, however, will be prosecuted, he said.
Other incidents, according to court documents, revealed that Ware used lower-ranking correctional officers to restrain pre-trial detainees in a stretched-out position like on a Medieval rack in retaliation for a critique of how Ware ran the KCDC. The person was left int he position for 90 minutes, resulting in physical injury.