MCCURTAIN COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – Protests piled up over the weekend in McCurtain County after alleged racist remarks and a murder plot on journalists were heard coming from high-level officials.
“We don’t need those kinds of people in office that think the way they do. It’s very dangerous for us and really, for everyone,” said Antoinette Lewis.
Lewis led a march Saturday night in response to the recordings. She and others have been demanding the resignation of McCurtain County Sheriff Kevin Clardy, County Commissioner Mark Jennings, and another county sheriff employee Alicia Manning. They were allegedly caught on a recording device during a county commissioner meeting in March.
In the recording, the three officials can be heard discussing potentially killing a journalist and the hanging of Black Oklahomans, almost reminiscing on archaic and racist punishments.
Graphic Language Warning: Link to transcripts from the audio recording provided by Bruce Willingham’s attorney.
The audio recording came from the McCurtain Gazette-News. A sheriff’s office statement claims the recording was altered before being published.
“If I was able to talk with him face-to-face with Sheriff Clardy, I would tell him to own up to what he said and just leave,” said Lewis. “He lost the trust of McCurtain County. We don’t trust him and we don’t want him here, we don’t feel like he can do his job. Own up to what you said and just leave.”
For years, Lewis said they haven’t been able to trust the Sheriff’s office where they live.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Oklahoma President Anthony Douglas pushed for a Monday deadline for all three to resign.
“Now they all need to do it,” said President Rogers. “We call for the immediate resignation of all three. We also call on the Governor to put forth a Grand Jury to investigate this county and others who might be involved.”
He says that if it is not done by Monday then they will demand certain county offices be defunded.
“I don’t know who Douglas is but yes, I agree with him,” said Lewis. “We’re not surprised by what we heard. We are just surprised that we actually heard it.”
Lewis said she just hopes that the momentum doesn’t die down on the matter.
“We have a strong voice right now that we don’t want to disappear,” said Lewis.
Governor Stitt last week called on the Attorney General to step in and investigate the alleged actions of all four.
Sheriff Clardy has come out saying that his office and others are investigating the recording. He has said that he believes there is some evidence to believe that it has been altered.