Gov. Stitt Calls The Resignation of McCurtain County Officials

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt said Sunday that McCurtain County officials who were allegedly recorded making racist and violent remarks in early March should resign after accusations were published mid-April in a local newspaper.

“I am both appalled and disheartened to hear of the horrid comments made by officials in McCurtain County,” Stitt said in a statement late Sunday. “There is simply no place for such hateful rhetoric in Oklahoma, especially by those who represent the community through their respective office. 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.”

Gov. Stitt Calls The Resignation of McCurtain County Officials

According to the McCurtain Gazette-News, Clardy, Jennings, and Manning were allegedly filmed during an impromptu conversation on March 6 discussing how to kill a local reporter and how upsetting it was that Black people could no longer be lynched because they “have more rights” than others.

Stitt also said he would be calling on the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to begin an investigation “to determine whether any illegal conduct has occurred,” according to a media release accompanying the statement.

According to the Gazette, the recorded chat purportedly centered around Gazette reporter Chris Willingham, who had filed a defamation lawsuit against McCurtain County officials. Willingham also wrote the piece that published the claims.

Willingham refused to comment on Sunday, citing current legal proceedings between himself and the government. Any of the reportedly recorded persons did not return requests for comment.

According to the Gazette, the FBI and the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office have copies of the recording.

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