OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A former supervisory correctional officer at the Kay County Detention Center (KCDC) was sentenced Monday to 46 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for violating the civil rights of three pretrial detainees.

On April 15, 2022, a federal jury convicted Matthew Ware, 53, of placing two pretrial detainees in “substantial risk of serious harm,” and ordering a corrections officer to use excessive force against a third pretrial detainee.

“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. “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.”

Ware was a lieutenant at the Detention Center on May 18, 2017, when he ordered corrections officers serving under him to move two Black pretrial detainees, D’Angelo Wilson and Marcus Miller, to a cell row containing white supremacist inmates whom Ware knew were a danger to Wilson and Miller, according to DOJ officials.

He later that same day ordered detention officers to unlock Wilson’s and Miller’s jail cells and the white supremacist inmates’ cells at the same time the following morning.

With the jail cells unlocked, the white supremacist inmates attacked Wilson and Miller.

Both Wilson and Miller were injured in the attack. Wilson suffered a facial laceration that needed seven stitches to close, DOJ officials said.

“The defendant disregarded the civil rights of those under his care and ultimately used his position to inflict physical harm on multiple pretrial detainees,” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division.

Ware also ordered excessive force against pretrial detainee Christopher Davis on Jan. 31, 2018.

DOJ officials said Ware was a captain at the jail when Davis sent him a note criticizing how he ran the jail.

Ware retaliated by ordering a corrections officer to restrain Davis against a bench in a stretched out position, with his left wrist bound to the far-left side of the bench and his right wrist bound to the far-right side of the bench.

Davis was left restrained in that position for 90 minutes, which physically injured him, DOJ officials said.

“A jury found that Mr. Ware abused his position of power over the individuals in his custody,” said U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester for 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.”