PAWNEE — Since the death of a woman inside the Pawnee County Jail, Sheriff Mike Waters said he has made changes to the operation.
Sheriff Waters said 26-year old Brittany Weide smuggled a .40 caliber gun inside her body and shot herself in a detox cell. The mother of two was arrested hours earlier for public intoxication.
The story is challenging for her family to understand.
"It's hard to be in this town and walk around and people are always asking you questions about it," Tammy Tubbs, Weide's aunt, said. "'I don't know. I don't know what to tell you.'"
Tubbs said she and Weide's grandmother found out that the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation cleared the Pawnee County Sheriff's Office of wrongdoing on 2 Works For You.
Our team submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the OSBI for their case file. The request was not granted. Instead, Public Information Officer Brook Arbeitman sent an email saying, "I was able to get with our General Counsel who advised me that the OSBI is not subject to Open Records." The email went on to cite the state statute that says all of the bureau's records are confidential.
"I realize everybody is human," Tubbs said. "People make mistakes in your life, but you also know you've got to be accountable for those mistakes and there is no accountability here."
There are cameras in the detox cells, where the 26-year old was being held, that Sheriff Waters said live streams to the jail staff's desk. He said at the time of her death they did not record, but they do now.
"I'm in the process of getting a walk through metal detector to put specifically in the jail," Sheriff Waters said.
He said usually they require inmates to dress in jail jumpsuits after they are booked. Sheriff Waters said since Weide was being combative, she was left in her street clothes for the safety of the jail staff. As far as the searches, he said there is not much more they can do legally.
"Females, you just can't search there not without a litigated circumstance and then you have to take them to the hospital and have an x-ray, but you have to have probable cause to even reach that point," Sheriff Waters said.
Weide's family knows nothing will bring her back or change what happened that day. They want peace, understanding and for her death to make a difference.
"Not a day goes by I don't think about her, but I am going to fight this fight for her," Tubbs said.
Tubbs visited her niece's grave in March for the first time since she got a headstone. The plot is fresh and so are the wounds.
"There are times I feel like I feel her right there with me," Tubbs said.
Weide's 7-year old daughter made a cross that says "I love you."
The 26-year old now lies beside her mother, who passed away years earlier.
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