OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – A former Oklahoma County Detention Center inmate was incarcerated for five days, and in that short amount of time, she said she suffered second and third degree facial burns.
On March 24, 2021, 25-year-old Chandra Graham was arrested by Oklahoma City Police on several complaints, including Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Interfering With Official Process- Resisting, Disorderly Conduct, Battery/Assault and Battery On Police Officer and Disturbing the Peace, among other charges.
A probable cause affidavit states Graham bit an officer on the hand and sneezed with intent to spit on an officer.
Graham was then booked into the Oklahoma County Detention Center shortly after.
She told KFOR she noticed puddles of what she believed to be water throughout the detention center.
Graham added the puddles of mysterious liquid were also in her cell.
According to Graham, her cellmate stepped in some of the liquid, accidentally splashing it onto Graham’s face.
“I immediately ran to the cell door and I alerted one of the guards and asked them if they could give me a cup of water because there was a dispenser that they had outside of the cell. They told me no over and over again. I had begged these officers and one or two guards, one by one, try and see if I can get some help. Some of them walked by and looked like [they] literally snickered at me and told me no,” said Graham.
The Oklahoma County Detention Center Communications Director, Mark Opgrande told KFOR, “Each cell is equipped with a sink with hot and cold faucets, therefore there were no barriers which would have prevented Ms. Graham from washing her face.”
Opgrande added toxic chemicals are not allowed inside the Oklahoma County Detention Center.
Graham claims she didn’t have access to clean water, though.
Her medical records show she was moved to a dry cell March 27, meaning her cell lacked plumbing facilities, such as a toilet.
She also asked for immediate medical attention, claiming whatever was splashed onto her face caused burns.
Opgrande said based on Graham’s medical records, there is nothing to support third-degree burns occurring while at the Oklahoma County Detention Center.
He added Graham did not fill out any medical requests.
KFOR obtained Graham’s medical records while she was incarcerated in Oklahoma County through a signed HIPAA release form.
Graham’s medical records do show she was medically treated on three separate occasions.
She was first seen by medical staff on March 27 for a “rash and swelling to her face.”
Records indicate Graham was given Benadryl and cortisone cream.
Graham was then treated two more times the following day.
She was offered either Benadryl or cortisone cream both times.
“We strive, along with our healthcare vendor, to provide the best care possible to detainees,” Opgrande wrote in a statement.
Opgrande said Turn-Key is the detention center’s healthcare vendor.
News 4 reached out via phone call and an online request form for more information, but have not heard back.
Graham’s medical records show she informed medical personnel that she had rubbed feces and urine from her cell’s toilet on her face.
Graham told KFOR she never said that nor did she do that.
News 4 spoke with a medical professional who was shown a picture of Graham’s injuries.
That expert listed a handful of reasons one would sustain an injury like Graham’s, including chemical burn.
We also asked if excessively rubbing feces or urine on one’s skin could cause an injury like Graham’s in which the medical expert said, “I wouldn’t think it could cause chemical burns like that.”
When Opgrande was shown a picture of Graham’s facial injuries and asked if there was anything he’d like to amend in his previous statement, he said, “We will refer you to her medical records where the Turn-Key medical staff noted on the right side of her face, ‘inmate has rubbed her face raw’, and ‘pt [patient] admitted to rubbing urine and feces on face from toilet.'”
Graham was transferred out of Oklahoma County into Tillman County on March 29 because there was a hold on her for a false personation charge.
News 4 spoke with a Tillman County Jail representative who didn’t want to go on camera, but did provide us with information.
The representative said the jail receives inmate transfers all the time, but that in all of his time working with the jail, he’s never seen an inmate arrive like this.
Once he saw her condition, he said he told his co-workers “they never should have picked her up.”
He also stated he knew Graham needed medical attention, so within an hour of being booked into the Tillman County Jail, Graham was released.
Graham showed up to Comanche County Memorial Hospital about an hour later.
News 4 also obtained Graham’s medical records from Comanche County Memorial through Graham.
Medical personnel noted Graham had “extensive burns across her face.”
Graham had a number of tests done, including a CT scan that revealed soft tissue swelling as well.
The hospital referred her to Integris Baptist Burn Center in OKC where she spent 10 days.
She was first seen at Integris Baptist Burn Center March 30, 2021.
According to Integris Baptist medical records, Graham is noted to have been seen April 2 for a chemical burn, a chemical burn of face, facial rash, and acute bacterial conjunctivitis of both eyes.
“It’s [an] overwhelming change. It’s very painful. I couldn’t even bear looking at myself and like, accepting and thinking to myself, like I don’t know how long this is going to last,” said Graham.
As Graham would look in the mirror, she said she didn’t recognize herself.
She’s still recovering, but now suffers from an ongoing condition called Burn Folliculitus.
The Mayo Clinic describes symptoms as itchy, burning, painful and tender skin. There are also pus-filled blisters that break open.
As for Graham’s charges, it appears the charges in Tillman County were dismissed two days after her release from jail.
Court records show the Tillman County District Attorney’s Office requested the case be dismissed “in the best interest of justice.”
When a case is dismissed for this reason, based on research, it “can require more consistency and reliability in evidence.”
Court records don’t show an update to Graham’s charges in Oklahoma County, though.
Graham told KFOR she is now looking to take legal action against the Oklahoma County Detention Center.
“It’s appalling. They need to be held accountable,” said Graham.