Family of man beaten to death at Oklahoma County Jail files civil rights lawsuit

Maurice Pendleton was killed July 18 at the Oklahoma County Jail. (Courtesy of the Pendleton family)

The family of a man killed at the Oklahoma County Jail has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the county.

The family of Maurice Pendleton Jr. announced June 22 that they have filed suit against Oklahoma County and Oklahoma County Sheriff P.D. Taylor. Pendleton died July 18, 2017 following an altercation in the holding area of the 8th floor of the Oklahoma County Jail.

Pendleton, who was 36, was in the holding area following a video arraignment. An affidavit shows that witnesses identified the men involved in the assault and that the men surrounded Pendleton "like he was prey". The victim was allegedly asked what gang he claimed and answered "Hoover" but told the men he didn't "gangbang" like that. Pendleton was then attacked.

Four men have been charged in Pendleton's death: Martaveous Gillioms, Hareth Hameed, Antonio Ligons and Todd Miller. The suit claims jail staff knew they would attack Pendleton when placed in a room with him.

The lawsuit cites that 30 inmates have died while in custody at the Oklahoma County Jail since 2016 and says that inadequate staffing and supervision is an ongoing problem that needs to be addressed. The suit claims that county officials have known about unconstitutional conditions that led the Pendleton's death for over 20 years.

Pendleton was reportedly scheduled to be released from jail on the day of the attack. The man was a father of four who was on track to graduate from Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City. He was facing complaints of assault and battery with a deadly weapon and carrying a firearm after a felony conviction.

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