Tulsa, Okla. - The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, along with several other Oklahoma law enforcement agencies, plans to challenge a new ruling from the State Supreme Court, which says some jail inmates can file civil lawsuits for excessive force.
Tulsa County Sheriff's Office Major Shannon Clark says they're concerned that a jail guard could hesitate at the wrong moment, if they're worried about triggering a lawsuit.
"Now somebody could be civilly liable if they defend themselves, or try to take someone into custody, or try to stop a violent act," Clark said.
He said it might even discourage people from becoming a jail guard in the first place, at a time where he says they already have a shortage of applicants and a high attrition rate.
"It's a tough profession at best," he said. "And it's hard to find people that want to come in there and do that job for long periods of time."
The court's ruling stems from a case out of Cherokee County, where an inmate suffered a serious spinal injury during an altercation with guards.
The court's ruling does not apply to inmates who have already been convicted of a crime.