RACISM IN AMERICA
Oklahoma Sherriff Okay with Killing Reporters and Lynching Black Men
A recording device left in the office of the McCurtain County Sheriff speaks volumes
On March 6, when the McCurtain County commissioner's meeting ended, a handful of Sheriff Kevin Clardy's associates stayed behind. The stragglers included District 2 Commissioner Mark Jennings, Capt. Alicia Manning, Jail Administrator Larry Hendrix, and two others identified in the published portion of the transcript as "Heather" and "Beck."
But none were aware of another holdover from the meeting — a voice-activated recorder.
The recorder was left by Bruce Willingham, publisher of the McCurtain Gazette-News. He told reporters he left the recording after becoming concerned that lawmakers were in the habit of continuing county business after meetings had officially ended. A claim that, if true, would violate the state's Open Meeting Act.
Before leaving the device, Willingham said that he consulted with attorneys to ensure his actions were not illegal.
When Willingham retrieved the recorder, he heard a disturbing conversation. The full transcript has yet to be published, but snippets have been shared with various reporters, and all of it has been given to the Oklahoma Attorney General and the FBI.
In one portion of the tape, Sheriff Cardy compared the body of a woman who died in a fire to what happens when meat is cooked, after which he laughed and said he was hungry and wanted to eat bbq.
Then Commissioner Jennings steered the conversation toward people who might want to run for sheriff to replace Sheriff Clardy. Here is how that conversation unfolded:
Jennings: “. . . They don’t have a goddamn clue what they’re getting into. Not this day and age. I’m gonna tell you something. If it was back in the day, when that when Alan Marshton would take a damn black guy and whoop their ass and throw him in the cell? I’d run for fucking sheriff.”
Sheriff: Yeah. Well, It’s not like that no more.
Jennings: I know. Take them down to Mud Creek and hang them up with a damn rope. But you can’t do that…