WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A former Wichita County Sheriff’s Office corrections officer who was charged with official oppression in connection to alleged physical abuse of an inmate in March of 2020 has been cleared of that charge in a bench trial Tuesday.
Appointed Senior District Judge Bob Brotherton found 20 year veteran officer Ian McMurtrie not guilty after hearing testimony in 78th District Court.
The indictment alleged that on March 13, 2020, while working in the jail division, McMurtrie used improper force in restraining inmate Heath Hanson, by forcing his fingers into the inmate’s nostrils and using other excessive force.
According to court records, Hanson was charged with resisting arrest and trying to take a weapon from an officer at the hospital on the same date as McMurtrie’s alleged violation occurred.
Affidavits state Hanson grabbed an officer’s taser and pointed it at an officer and also at hospital security.
A video was shown in court depicting the alleged physical abuse of Hanson by McMurtrie.
An officer then fired his taser at Hanson but said he continued struggling and was eventually subdued by several officers.
Four counts of aggravated assault against a public servant were filed against Hanson but later dismissed. He pleaded guilty to one charge of trying to take an officer’s weapon.
After Sheriff David Duke placed McMurtrie on suspension, McMurtrie retired. Duke said surveillance video of the incident, which was played during the trial, was clear that excessive force was used and that such cases of abuse can not be tolerated.