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Tulsa Man Wins Civil Trial, Awarded $175,000 In County Jail Excessive Force Incident

Tulsa County Sheriff's Office

This story was updated at 2:37 p.m. to include comment from the Tulsa County District Attorney's office received after initial publication.

Tulsa County must pay $175,000, the maximum allowed under statute, to a Tulsa man who suffered injuries during a 2016 incident in which Tulsa County Jail detention officers violently handled him, a jury has found.

Jesse Dalton said his knee was broken in the encounter, first reported by the Tulsa WorldSurveillance video from the jail shows officers slam a handcuffed Dalton into a wall and throw him to the ground, where he appears to remain moaning facedown in his own blood. 

"I think he was relieved," Daniel Smolen, Dalton's attorney, said of his client's reaction to the trial outcome. "I think he also felt confirmation in the jury verdict's award after they saw all the evidence and all the facts. I mean, it was a horrific experience for him that resulted in permanent injury."

The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office declined comment Thursday. The Tulsa County District Attorney's office said the sheriff's office had not requested criminal charges in the incident. 

"Our Office does not conduct or complete investigations, but only responds to completed investigations to make charging decisions. Thusly, no charges have been filed," said First Assistant District Attorney Erik Grayless.

"No criminal charges were ever brought on any of the claims, which probably should have happened, right?" Smolen said. "But it didn't, and, so, ultimately what option you're left with at that point is civil litigation, either dealing with a government tort claim like Jesse Dalton's claim, or a civil rights violation."

"At the end, to have the jury confirm not only that they had a serious problem with it, but then to award the maximum amount that they could under the statute, was just a confirmation that what had happened to him was really a violation of his rights," Smolen said.

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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