OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Prosecutors charged two former employees of the Oklahoma County Jail in separate cases in which they are accused of allowing inmates to severely injure each other.
Michael Thomas Hughes, 25, is charged in Oklahoma County District Court with one count of felony assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, following the Dec. 3 beating of Aaron Lemeal Cooper, 19, at the hands of 11 inmates, The Oklahoman reported.
Hughes, a detention officer, was assigned to rove the fourth floor of the jail the night Cooper was assaulted, according to a probable cause affidavit for an arrest warrant.
Hughes knew there were rival gangs on the jail pod, the affidavit states. Hughes is accused of releasing Cooper, an admitted member of the Crips street gang, in a common area with multiple members of the rival Bloods gang.
Daniel Lazar, a criminal investigator with the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority, which runs the jail, said in the affidavit that Hughes could be seen on surveillance video shaking hands with a member of the Bloods, and they had a “lengthy conversation” prior to the attack on Cooper.
Five hours later, according to the affidavit, Hughes released another known Bloods member, who was in protective custody and not allowed to be outside his cell or have access to the general population. Hughes is accused of allowing the man to enter the cell of Roy Lee Parkerson, 24, where he stabbed Parkerson three times with a handmade shank.
In both the assault cases Hughes is charged in, he attempted to clean up the blood, did not call out on his radio that there was an altercation between inmates, and failed to notify medical staff about severely injured inmates, according to the affidavit.
In a separate case this week, Martin Jacobs, 31, was charged in Oklahoma County District Court with one count of willful neglect to perform a duty of public trust or employment, a felony.
The charges stem from a Feb. 7 incident in which an inmate called Jacobs and told him a riot was breaking out on the second floor of the jail. Jacobs told the inmate he would check with the jail’s rover, but a review of surveillance video shows Jacobs, “never picked up his radio to notify anyone,” according to an internal investigative report of the altercation.
An hour later, one of those involved was beaten so badly he had to be hospitalized for two separate brain bleeds, according to the report.
Jacobs was fired on negligence grounds.
Court records don’t indicate whether Hughes or Jacobs have an attorney who could speak on their behalf.
Jacobs previously told The Oklahoman he was wrongfully terminated.
“I did my job. I answered the phone. I looked at the camera, didn’t see anything, proceeded to answer other phone calls as well,” he told the newspaper. “I’m sure I radioed it in later.”