OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A former Oklahoma jailer has pleaded guilty to violating an inmate’s civil rights by kicking and striking him in a 2020 assault, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
Johnnie Drewery, 27, faces up to 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced in a few months, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Oklahoma said in a press release.
Drewery was a sergeant at the Grady County Jail when he placed the inmate in a “suicide smock" and moved him into a holding cell, prosecutors said. As the door was closing, the inmate allegedly spit on Drewery, who then demanded the cell door be opened, entered the cell and began striking and kneeing the inmate, breaking one of his ribs.
“Law enforcement and corrections officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe,” U.S. Attorney Robert Troester said in a statement. “But when an officer betrays the badge and the public’s trust, as the defendant did here, they dishonor their profession and endanger the safety of their fellow officers."
Drewery pleaded guilty to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law.
Drewery's attorney, Bret Burns, said Drewery was an exceptional detention officer and “deeply regrets" his actions, noting that the inmate spit into Drewery's face and mouth.
“This action by the inmate was in the height of the original COVID outbreak and was extremely frustrating for Mr. Drewery," Burns said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. “Mr. Drewery entered the guilty plea because he regrets his actions and he didn't want to put his family through a stressful trial."