Grady County, Okla. jail officer pleads guilty to use of excessive force

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — A former sergeant with the Grady County Jail in Chickasha, Okla. pleaded guilty to using unreasonable force against an inmate, thereby violating the inmate’s constitutional civil rights, according to court documents.

Johnnie Drewery, 27, was involved in changing an inmate, D.H., into a suicide smock and moving D.H. into a first floor holding cell on July 11, 2020. Drewery put D.H. into the holding cell. According to court documents, as the cell door was closing, D.H. spit on Drewery. He then screamed for the cell door to be reopened. When the cell door was unlocked, Drewery rushed into the cell and began to use his hands and knee to strike D.H. repeatedly.

This resulted in D.H. suffering a fractured rib from this assault.

“[Drewery] is being held accountable for using excessive force against a man inside of a jail cell who was not posing a threat at the time he was assaulted,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division will continue to investigate and prosecute law enforcement officials who deprive individuals of their Constitutional rights by using excessive force against them.”

U.S. Attorney Robert J. Troester for the Western District of Oklahoma stated, “Law enforcement and corrections officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe. But when an officer betrays the badge and the public’s trust, as [Drewery] did here, they dishonor their profession and endanger the safety of their fellow officers.”

The crime Drewery pleaded guilty to carries a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing will be set by the court in approximately 90 days.