A former Bryan County Jail inmate is suing the county in federal court, alleging he was injured and neglected at the county jail while awaiting transfer to a state prison.
Johnathan S. Olive was convicted in Bryan County on Aug. 27, 2010, on three drug-related charges as well as driving under the influence. He was being held in the county jail, awaiting transfer to state custody.
In the suit, Olive alleges he was thrown over a table by another inmate on Oct. 9, 2010, resulting in a fractured wrist. He was taken to the emergency room at MCSO and released the same day back into jail custody.
A surgery was to be performed on the hand at a later date. Olive alleges he was placed in solitary confinement for nine days and given Tylenol for his pain instead of medications prescribed by physicians.
The surgery was performed but the suit alleges that Olive suffered permanent damage and disfigurement to his hand and wrist as a result of “deliberate indifference” on the part of the jailers.
The suit alleges cruel and unusual punishment by the county sheriff, deputies and jailers “depriving (Olive) of medical care in light of (his) serious medical need.” The suit also alleges excessive use of force by the jailers.
Olive was transferred to the Dick Conner Correctional Facility in Hominy on Oct. 21, 2010, and an offender database indicates his sentence runs until April 2021.
Olive is suing the Board of Bryan County Commissioners, seeking damages in excess of $75,000. Chairman Monty Montgomery told the Durant Democrat that the county will “defend itself vigorously” against the suit.
“We receive many of these types of lawsuits from current and former inmates,” Montgomery said. “We don’t believe that any relief is justified. We try to treat everyone as we would want to be treated. We’re not admitting to any wrongdoing. We’re certainly willing to go to court and let a judge make the decision.”
Montgomery said the state and federal courts receive anywhere from one to two dozen filings per year alleging abuse and mistreatment of inmates at Bryan County Jail.
“We’ve never actually gone to trial in any cases, and our insurance carrier has only settled one (since 2007),” he said. “That doesn’t mean there isn’t one (in the future) that will be justified.”
Attorneys defending the county could visit the commissioners as early as February to meet in a closed executive session about the case. After that, all three county commissioners will reconvene the session at a hearing in the Muskogee courtroom.
This will mark only the second time since 2007 that the county has taken part in a settlement conference or trial relating to a prisoner abuse case.