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Former Oklahoma Undersheriff Gets 22 Months In Prison for Beating Handcuffed Jail Detainee

by Douglas Ankney

On July 13, 2023, Kendall Brian Morgan, 45, a former undersheriff in Oklahoma’s LeFlore County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO), was sentenced to 22 months in federal prison, followed by 36 months of supervised release, for beating a handcuffed detainee in the county jail.

Morgan was indicted in federal court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma for beating two handcuffed detainees on January 25, 2017, identified as “D.P.” and “A.S.” Additionally, he was accused of striking a handcuffed juvenile detainee identified as “C.R.” on December 13, 2017. Morgan resigned from LCSO in July 2018, citing personal reasons.

He pleaded guilty in November 2022 to repeatedly striking D.P. while the detainee was handcuffed and not resisting; charges for assaulting the other two detainees were dropped as part of his plea agreement.

His sentence was notably shorter than the maximum10-year term for the charge he pleaded guilty to; he could have also been fined up to $250,000, but he was instead ordered to pay a special assessment of just $100. See: United States v. Morgan, USDC (E.D. Okla.), Case No. 6:21-cr-00381.

The state Bureau of Investigation (SBI) had previously investigated Morgan for using excessive force while serving as a Sheriff’s deputy and conducting a 2015 traffic stop. In a civil suit filed over that incident, the county and Morgan were ordered by a federal jury in October 2019 to pay $4 million to Chad Osterhout, after finding Morgan rammed his patrol car into Osterhout’s motorcycle, throwing him into a ditch. When the victim got back on his feet, he said Morgan punched and kicked him, calling him a “hippy mother***er.” On August 24, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit granted the county and Morgan partial remittitur and reduced the award for compensatory damages to $2 million, leaving $1 million in punitive damages in place for a $3 million total award. See: Osterhout v. Bd. of Cty. Comm’rs, 10 F.4th 978 (10th Cir. 2021).

So how did Morgan stay on the job for three years after this violent incident—long enough to be indicted for assaulting three more people unlucky enough to step between him and his anger? Explained Sheriff Rob Seale, after SBI opened another investigation into the undersheriff for the latter assaults in 2018: “If it would have been a single incident that somebody talked about, I wouldn’t have been that concerned about it because people get angry when they go to jail.”  


Additional sources: KFOR, KOCO

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