Oklahoma Police Officials Forced To Resign After Disturbing Recording Surfaces

Governor Kevin Stitt asked three Oklahoma police officials to resign after a recording surfaced where they were talking about murdering journalists and lynching black residents.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

oklahoma police officials sperm whale vomit

Four Oklahoma Police Officials resigned after a recording of the trio making racist, violence-filled comments and jokes was revealed. McCurtain County Commissioner Mark Jennings submitted a short letter of resignation which said, “Effective immediately, I, Mark Jennings, do hereby resign as McCurtain County District #2 commissioner.”

“I will release a formal statement in the near future regarding the recent events in our county,” the letter, written on lined notebook paper, continued. According to NPR, the Oklahoma Police Officials were asked to resign by Governor Kevin Stitt. Sheriff Kevin Clardy, investigator Alicia Manning and jail administrator Larry Hendrix were all featured in the March 6 recording.

The audio clip, which has not been independently verified, contained casual conversations in which the Oklahoma Police Official talked about murdering local journalists and lynching Black residents. The McCurtain Gazette-News released the recording after journalist Bruce Willingham left a voice-activated recorder in a room following a public county meeting.

Willingham said he suspected several Oklahoma Police Officials of illegally conducting business after the meeting. This is a direct violation of the state’s Open Meeting Act. A transcript of the recordings revealed Jennings reminiscing about racially motivated brutality. “Back in the day, someone could take a damn Black guy and whoop their a** and throw him in the cell,” the document read.

“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 added. Due to the disturbing nature of the exchange, the Governor immediately called for the resignation of the Oklahoma Police Officials. “There is simply no place for such hateful rhetoric in Oklahoma,” Stitt said via NPR.

“I will not stand idly by while this takes place,” he continued about the Oklahoma Police Officials. While the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office is investigating the situation, the state’s Sheriffs’ Association voted to suspend Clardy, Manning, and Hendrix. The group, which provides training and support to members, made the decision due to the severity of the comments.

Although the Oklahoma Police Officials have not publically addressed the recording, they claim it was illegally obtained and altered. The Sheriff’s office also believes the journalist violated a state law prohibiting third-party secret recordings, NBC News reports. However, attorney Christin Jones, representing the newspaper, said everything was above board.

“It is an accurate recording and does not violate the Oklahoma Security of Communications Act,” Jones said. The full audio, set to be released later this week, has already been turned over to the FBI and the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office. Following its limited release, crowds gathered to protest against the Oklahoma Police Officials.

The incident involving Oklahoma Police Officials comes amid a rise in racial tensions across the United States. This has been driven by the growing awareness of systemic racism and police brutality towards black people, the rise of white nationalist movements, and the political polarization that has become more pronounced in recent years.

One of the most significant events was the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in May 2020. The incident, captured on video and shared widely on social media, sparked nationwide protests and calls for police reform and racial justice. This led to protests and demonstrations, which resulted in clashes between protestors and police.

The political response to these events (like the Oklahoma Police Officials) has been divided, with some leaders calling for greater accountability for police and others emphasizing law and order and cracking down on protests.