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

L.A. Fosner
6 min readApr 18, 2023

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Image of the scales of justice with the words, “SYSTEMIC RACISM” printed on one side, weighing down that side, creating an imbalance.
Editorial rights purchased from iStock. Image by wildpixel.

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…

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L.A. Fosner

Writer/Activist/Humorist/Catalyst for Change. Dispelling the myth of white/male supremacy, and removing religion from government. ProLIFE, not ProBIRTH.