Former Muskogee Jail Superintendent, Assistant Indicted On Civil Rights Charges

Wednesday, February 13th 2013, 6:00 pm
By: Richard Clark

A federal grand jury in Muskogee has indicted the former superintendent and assistant superintendent of the Muskogee County Jail on multiple counts of civil rights offenses.

Raymond A. Barnes, 42, and Christopher A. Brown, 31, were indicted for using excessive force on inmates at the Muskogee County Jail between August 2009 and May 2011.

Brown is also charged with making material false statements to the FBI.

According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Barnes and Brown are charged with one count of conspiring to violate the rights of inmates housed at the jail by assaulting inmates themselves or by directing other jailers to do so.

The indictment claims the men did the following:

  • unjustifiably strike, assault, harm and physically punish inmates at MCJ who were restrained, compliant and not posing a physical threat to anyone
  • organize "meet and greets," whereby jailers would scare, punish and harm incoming inmates from neighboring counties by throwing and slamming the handcuffed inmates to the ground upon their arrival at the MCJ
  • threaten to fire MCJ employees if they reported abusive behavior directly to the sheriff or to outside law enforcement authorities
  • require and encourage MCJ jailers to write incident reports that falsely justified uses of force and contained misleading or inaccurate accounts of what had occurred when force was used
  • perpetuate an environment within the MCJ that allowed unlawful beatings and assaults against inmates to continue indefinitely and without consequence.

The men are also accused of aiding and abetting each other in violating the rights of two different inmates when the jailers threw the inmates to the ground while they were handcuffed, injuring the inmates. 

The grand jury says Brown falsely claimed that during "meet and greets," when an inmate from an out-of-county jail arrived at the jail, the inmate was ordered out of the transport vehicle and then  "gently placed" on the ground.

According to the indictment this was false, because Brown knew that jailers routinely threw inmates to the ground even though the inmates were restrained and not posing a physical threat to anyone, the grand jury found.

Barnes and Brown face a maximum penalty of 10 years for each of the three civil rights offenses. Brown faces a maximum penalty of five years for making material false statements to the FBI.

A federal grand jury also indicted former detention officer Dennis Frisbie Jr., 32, on one count of making material false statements to the FBI.

Frisbie told the FBI he'd been shot by an unknown individual in July of 2011 and that he believed he was shot because he had cooperated with the FBI in its investigation of the jail. The indictment says neither was true.

Frisbie faces up to five years in prison for making false statements to the FBI.

The U.S. Department of Justice says an indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.