OKLAHOMA CITY - Saying Oklahoma “cannot be the laughing stock of the United States,” State Rep. Joe Dorman (D-Dist. 65) called on Governor Fallin Thursday to put the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) in charge of investigating last week’s botched execution of death row inmate Clayton Lockett – not the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
Dorman is running for governor.
At a capitol press conference, Dorman said Fallin’s decision to have DPS Commissioner Michael Thompson investigate Lockett’s execution will invite the federal government to step in and take over.
Dorman said the investigation is within OSBI’s jurisdiction.
“Commissioner Thompson was a witness to the execution. He is a Fallin political appointee who can be hired and fired at will,” Dorman said. “OSBI’s director is hired by their board, and their board has senate confirmation. At least there are some steps in between the process to ensure the other branch of government, the legislative branch, has some input into this.”
DPS Cpt. George Brown responded to similar criticism last week, saying Commissioner Thompson “has directed a well trained and experienced team of investigators.”
Governor Fallin’s Communications Director, Alex Weintz, responded to Dorman’s comments, saying “his calls are both late and politically motivated.”
Dorman admitted to voting for the bill that made the source of execution drugs a secret, but Thursday said “…there are certain things that happen that make you change your mind when you realize what the impact will be.”
Dorman said he still supports the death penalty and understands why many Oklahomans don’t have sympathy for how Lockett died.
“I don’t have much sympathy either,” Dorman said. “I’m a firm supporter of the death penalty and we have a responsibility as officers of the state to ensure that the eighth amendment is followed properly and that no punishment is severe or has any vein of torture.”