Governor calls for Oklahoma sheriff, top officials to resign after secret mic catches disgusting chat

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, has called for the resignation of an Oklahoma sheriff and other top officials after all of them were recorded talking about killing reporters and lynching black people.

The recording was reportedly made on March 6th after a meeting of the county Board of Commissioners.

According to local station KWTV, the recording device was left at the meeting by local journalist Bruce Willingham.

“He says he left his recording device inside a McCurtain County commissioners’ meeting, where he intended to prove the officials were holding secret meetings. However, he ended up getting much more than he bargained for,” the station reported.

What he got was a disturbing discussion involving McCurtain County Sheriff Kevin Clardy, county Commissioner Mark Jennings, sheriff’s investigator Alicia Manning, and Jail Administrator Larry Hendrix, among others.

Listen to some of the discussion below (*Language warning):

A transcript obtained by The Oklahoman shows that the discussion began with Clardy and Jennings bemoaning that sheriffs may no longer lynch black people.

“It’s like somebody wanting this job, they don’t realize, like your job. I heard it the other day, said I heard two or 12 people were going for sheriff. I said f–k, let’s get 20. They don’t have a goddamn clue what they’re getting into. Not this day and age,” Jennings said.

“I’m gonna tell you something. If it was back in the day, when Alan Marshton would take a damn black guy and whoop their ass and throw him in the cell? I’d run for f-king sheriff,” Jennings added.

“Yeah. Well, It’s not like that no more,” Clardy then cut in.

“I know. 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,” Jennings continued.

The discussion continued with Manning, Clardy, and Jennings talking about hiring hit men to kill Willingham and his son, Chris, who reportedly is also a journalist.

“I know where two big deep holes are here if you ever need them,” Jennings said,

“I’ve got an excavator,” Clardy then said.

“Well, these are already pre-dug. But the thing of it is, you know, I’ve known two or three hitmen. They’re very quiet guy and would cut no f–king mercy in Louisiana, cause this is all Mafia around here,” Jennings replied.

“Yeah, but here’s the reality. If a hair on his wife’s head, Chris Willingham’s head, or any of those people that really were behind that, if any hair on their head got touched by anybody, who would be the bad guy?” Manning said,  continuing the discussion.

“Who would be blamed for it?” Clardy asked.

“Yeah,” Manning said.

Willingham was horrified by what he heard.

“I was completely appalled and frightened, quite frankly,” he told KWTV.

The recording has triggered a massive, statewide backlash. But instead of at least apologizing, if not also resigning, Clardy has launched a counter-campaign targeting Willingham over his hidden camera:

The last 72 hours have been amongst the most difficult and disruptive in recent memory. This is a very complex situation…

Posted by McCurtain County Sheriffs Office on Monday, April 17, 2023


In the Facebook post seen above, Clardy announced that he’s launched an investigation “into multiple, significant violation of the Oklahoma Security of Communications Act, Title 13, Chapters 176.3 and 176.4 which states that it is illegal to secretly record a conversation in which you are not involved and do not have the consent of at least one of the involved parties.”

Clardy also accuses Willingham of having doctored the recording.

“Our preliminary information indicates that the media released audio recording has, in fact, been altered. The motivation for doing so remains unclear at this point. That matter is actively being investigated,” his Facebook post reads.

In separate but related news, the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association has now involved itself in the matter.

“During an emergency meeting of the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association Board of Directors, a unanimous vote was taken to suspend McCurtain County Sheriff Kevin Clardy, investigator Alicia Manning and Jail Administrator Larry Hendrix,” The Oklahoman reported.

“In a statement, the board said it followed association bylaws which state that ‘a member may be suspended for good and sufficient cause’ by a majority vote. The suspensions may be appealed,” the paper added.

Keep in mind that it’s a membership organization and not a regulatory agency, meaning this vote won’t affect the actual positions.

The Willinghams, for their part, are just glad that their side of the story is finally being heard.

“For nearly a year, they have suffered intimidation, ridicule and harassment based solely on their efforts to report the news for McCurtain County,” Kilpatrick Townsend, the law firm representing them, said in a statement to NBC News.

Vivek Saxena


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