Oklahoma governor calls for officials’ resignation over recording discussing murder of journalists News
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Oklahoma governor calls for officials’ resignation over recording discussing murder of journalists

Oklahoma’s governor called for the resignation of four McCurtain County officials Suday for their alleged participation in a secretly recorded audio conversation where they allegedly discussed killing two reporters. One also mentioned the lynching of Black people.

Governor Kevin Stitt in a released statement said:

I am both appalled and disheartened to hear of the horrid comments made by officials in McCurtain County. 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 office. I will not stand idly by while this takes place. In light of these events, I am calling for the immediate resignation of McCurtian County Sheriff Kevin Clardy, District 2 Commissioner Mark Jennings, Investigator Alicia Manning, and Jail Administrator Larry Hendrix.

McCurtain county Officials allegedly discussed disposing of the bodies of two McCurtain Gazette-News reporters, saying “I know where two big deep holes are here if you ever need them,” “I’ve got an excavator,” and “Well, these are already pre-dug.”

Commissioner Mark Jennings even said of Black men: “Take them down to Mud Creek and hang them up with a damn rope. But you can’t do that anymore. They got more rights than we got.”

The local newspaper in McCurtain County released the audio stating was from the March 6 McCurtain County Board of Commissioners meeting.

The FBI is investigating the matter. The McCurtain County Sheriff’s Office said the audio was illegally recorded, violating Oklahoma law. They further state that “In addition to being illegally obtained, the audio does not match the ‘transcription‘ of that audio, and is not precisely consistent with what has been put into print.”

The Sherriff’s office also threatened felony charges against those responsible for recording the conversation.

According to the McCurtain Gazette-News, the recording followed the filing of a lawsuit by McCurtain Gazette-News reporter Chris Willingham against the Board of Commissioners, the Sheriff’s office, and Alicia Manning alleging a violation of  Willingham’s civil rights and defamation.