Timeline: Greg Williams' troubled tenure as Oklahoma County jail administrator

  • In US
  • 2022-12-05 21:18:40Z
  • By The Oklahoman
Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority meeting Monday, December 5 2022.
Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority meeting Monday, December 5 2022.  

The Oklahoma County jail trust hired Greg Williams three years ago to run the troubled facility and tasked him with making improvements to both the conditions and culture.

Williams came to the jail after working for the Oklahoma State Department of Corrections for 36 years, his last role as deputy chief of operations. On Monday, Williams said he will resign his role as jail administrator.

More:Greg Williams steps down as Oklahoma County jail administrator

The Oklahoman has created a timeline of events during Williams' tenure at the jail.

2019-2020: Williams' early days as Oklahoma County jail administrator

Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority meeting Monday, December 5 2022.
Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority meeting Monday, December 5 2022.  

Nov. 18, 2019: Trust selects Williams as jail administrator. Williams began meeting with judges, commissioners, public defenders, the trust and Sheriff P.D. Taylor to start getting an idea of "where everyone is at and where we want to go as a team," he told The Oklahoman in December.

July 1, 2020: Sheriff's office hands over control of jail to jail trust. Williams officially enters the jail and takes over as administrator.

July 27, 2020: Jail administration reports more than 540 inmates placed in quarantine for COVID-19 as the jail population climbs above 1,900, its highest in years. 33 inmates and six employees tested positive.

July 31, 2020: Two detainees escape from 12th floor window using bed sheets fashioned into a rope.

Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority meeting Monday, December 5 2022.
Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority meeting Monday, December 5 2022.  

Aug. 4-19, 2020: Two detainees die after contracting COVID-19 while in the Oklahoma County jail. County commissioners voted 2-0 to give $34 million in CARES Act funding to the jail, after previously giving the jail $6 million in coronavirus relief. The decision is widely criticized by the community.

Oct. 2, 2020: Two senior detention officers are fired and charged with assault. The officers are accused of striking a detainee about 18 times.

Oct. 23, 2020: Detention officer charged for punching naked female detainee. The officer quit after confronted with the results of an investigation into the incident.

Dec. 3, 2020: 19-year-old detainee assaulted by 11 other inmates. The victim was beaten with a broom handle and hit several times from behind, had two teeth knocked out and received seven stitches above his left eye. A detention officer is later charged in connection to assault and an additional stabbing he is accused of helping facilitate.

Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority meeting Monday, December 5 2022.
Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority meeting Monday, December 5 2022.  

July 2020-Dec. 2020: Four detainees died at the Oklahoma County jail.

2021: The first full year of Williams' tenure

Jan. 3, 2021: An inmate is beaten to death with his own walking boot. A witness from a nearby cell called for help on his wall phone repeatedly, receiving no answer. The witness also called his girlfriend, asking her to call the jail's main line and report the assault. An officer reportedly responded 40 minutes after the victim began screaming.

Jan. 27, 2021: Convicted kidnapper escapes through open gate at jail. Administration failed to notify police and district attorney's office for more than an hour.

Feb. 7, 2021: Detention officer fails to respond to inmate plea for help during violent incident involving several armed detainees. Officer is eventually fired and charged for "willful neglect to perform a duty."

March 27, 2021: Detainee takes detention officer hostage. After several hours, during which the detainee broadcast a livestream from the officer's phone and made threats to the officer's life, the detainee was shot and killed by Oklahoma City police.

March 29, 2021: County jail's medical provider threatens to terminate its contract, citing understaffing. By April 8, the company would reverse its ultimatum.

April 2021: Jail employees mistakenly release a drug dealer sentenced to 25 years in prison instead of transferring him to state custody.

April 12, 2021: Three additional detention officers are charged in relation to incidents occurring under Williams' administration.

April 19, 2021: Rep. Jason Lowe and other members of the state's Legislative Black Caucus publicly called for the U.S. Justice Department to take over control of the jail from the trust.

July 2, 2021: Female detainees are charged with rape, conspiracy and assault after forcing other detainees to submit to body-cavity searches. A detention officer also was fired for being "derelict in her duties."

July 7-19, 2021: Multiple detainees charged with organizing a contraband ring, followed by the firing and charging of a detention officer for introducing contraband into the jail.

July 26, 2021: Pawnee County is contracted by Oklahoma County after the Oklahoma State Department of Health finds jail insufficient to hold juvenile detainees.

Sep. 29, 2021: District Attorney David Prater launches a grand jury investigation into the Oklahoma County jail, trust and administration. The proceedings eventually will be placed before the state's multi-county grand jury. The investigation is ongoing.

October 2021: Report by consultant David Parker that is critical of jail operations and procedures is made public. The report is one of several times the jail trust and administration requested recommendations from others, including the National Institute of Corrections in May 2021 and its own Detention Center Action Committee in September 2021.

Oct. 17, 2021: Turnkey Health medical employee arrested and charged with allegedly introducing contraband into the jail.

Dec. 29, 2021: Detention officer fired and charged with multiple crimes in relation to alleged smuggling of contraband into the jail.

Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2021: Sixteen detainee deaths counted at the jail in 2021.

2022: Another tumultuous year for Williams

Feb. 8, 2022: In a leaked voicemail, Williams and communications director Mark Opgrande are heard referring to the COVID-19 pandemic as the jail's "friend" and the best thing to happen to the jail.

Feb. 15, 2022: Detention officer fired and charged with mistreatment of inmates. The officer is accused of spraying two detainees with pepper spray "without justifiable reason."

Feb. 25, 2022: Woman allegedly attempts to smuggle fentanyl into the jail by purposely getting arrested.

May 17, 2022: Detention officer charged in connection with a suicide death at the jail. The officer is accused of falsifying records to cover up a failure to perform regular sight checks.

June 23-24, 2022: Two separate suits filed by detainees allege guards allowed stabbings to occur within the jail. Additionally, the state Health Department filed an administrative compliance proceeding against the jail after continued failed inspections.

June 25, 2022: A detainee is beaten by his cellmate on the mental health floor of the jail. He is found on the cell floor, unresponsive and taken to an area hospital. The victim would die July 11. The cellmate faces a first-degree murder charge.

June 28, 2022: Oklahoma County voters approve $260 million in bonds to help pay for a new jail.

July 19, 2022: A woman handcuffed to a bench in the jail's booking area awaiting release was allegedly raped by another detainee left unmonitored.

Oct. 12, 2022: Jail fails fifth inspection by state Health Department since Ferbruary 2021. Previously failed inspections took place in February, June and October 2021 and April 2022.

Nov. 1, 2022: Clergy, citizens and jail trust member Derrick Scobey call for Williams' firing. The remainder of the trust does not agree with Scobey, and Williams maintains his role as administrator.

Dec. 5, 2022: Williams says he will resign as administrator of the Oklahoma County jail.

Jan. 1-Dec. 1, 2022: Fifteen deaths counted at the Oklahoma County jail.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Major jail events and occurrences under Greg Williams' command


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