Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is calling on a group of county officials to resign after some of them were allegedly recorded on audio complaining two journalists from a local newspaper. Part of the recording, which was released by the McCurtain Gazette-News, also appeared to capture audio of one of the four officials making anti-Black racist comments.
“I am both appalled and disheartened to hear of the horrid comments made by officials in McCurtain County,” Stitt said in a statement. “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.”
On Sunday, Stitt said he was calling for the resignations of McCurtain County Sheriff Kevin Clardy, sheriff’s Capt. Alicia Manning, District 2 Commissioner Mark Jennings and Jail Administrator Larry Hendrix.
The controversial comments were allegedly made during a county commission meeting on March 6 after a reporter left an audio recorder in the room where the meeting took place before he left. Clardy, Manning and Jennings appear to discuss two of the newspaper’s reporters, including the journalist who left the device.
The McCurtain Gazette-News released portions of the audio recording, in which it appears Jennings can be heard telling Clardy and Manning “I know where two deep holes are dug if you ever need them,” and the sheriff responded, “I’ve got an excavator,” reported the Associated Press.
Jennings can also allegedly be heard saying he’s known “two or three hit men” in Louisiana, adding “they’re very quiet guys.”
In the audio recording, Jennings also allegedly complained about not being able to hang Black people. He was could be heard allegedly saying “They got more rights than we got.”
In the audio, the sheriff can also allegedly be heard comparing a woman who recently died in a house fire to “barbecue.”
Needless to say, the community is outraged, and are demanding the sheriff and county officials immediately resign.
More about the story and community response can be found here.
Blog dedicated to news and viewpoints from Black journalists who support, and inform, communities of color.
Original content, and curated articles, are posted and updated daily.