Stitt, Others Call for Clardy, Commissioner To Resign; McCurtain County Blacks Protesting

IDABEL–After a newspaper reveled that a secret audio recording of a public meeting of the McCurtain County sheriff and a county commissioner discussed lynching of Blacks and killing news reporters, federal and state officials have launched investigations.

Gov. Kevin Stitt and others have called for the sheriff and a commissioner to resign, and Blacks are protesting.

A commissioner and sheriff in southeast Oklahoma were said to have been caught on a hot mic, talking about killing journalists and beating and hanging Black people.

The recordings were captured by a reporter with the McCurtain Gazette after a county commissioner’s meeting in early March.

The McCurtain Gazette said the audio of McCurtain County Commissioner Mark Jennings ad Sheriff Kevin Clardy talking about killing two of the paper’s reporters.

The paper is currently suing the county over an alleged Open Recordings Act violation.

A review of the transcript of the audio tape shows the threat seems to get more specific as Commissioner Jennings talks with Sheriff Investigator Alicia Manning.

The conversation between the officials became racist when Commissioner Jennings complained to sheriff Clardy about not being able to kill or beat Blacks.

Idabel Mayor Craig Young

The mayor of Idabel, Craig joined the governor in calling for resignations.

Gov. Stitt said there is no place for such hateful rhetoric in the state and called on the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to determine if anything illegal happened.

“I am both appalled and disheartened to hear of the horrid comments made by officials in McCurtain County,” the governor said.

“There is simply no place for such hateful rhetoric in the state of Oklahoma, especially by those that serve to represent the community through their respective offices.

“I will not stand idly by while this takes place. In light of these events, I am calling for the immediate resignation of McCurtain County Sheriff Kevin Clardy, District 2 Commissioner Mark Jennings, Investigator Alicia Manning and Jail Administrator Larry Hendrix.”

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