MCCURTAIN CO., Okla. (KFOR) – Days into the controversy surrounding the McCurtain County Sheriff’s Office, the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association has now confirmed it has suspended the officials involved from its organization.
The officials are accused of discussing killing a reporter and returning to hanging Black people in recordings released over the weekend.
According to the McCurtain Gazette-News, who initially published the report, District 2 Commissioner Mark Jennings, Investigator Alicia Manning, Jail Administrator Larry Hendrix and Sheriff Kevin Clardy were recorded during a conversation on March 6 at a meeting of the county Board of Commissioners.
The McCurtain Sheriff’s office maintains that the newspaper’s audio recording in which the sheriff and others are reportedly heard discussing killing two journalists and hanging Black people was illegal.
Sunday evening, Governor Kevin Stitt weighed in.
Stitt said he was “both appalled and disheartened to hear the horrid comments,” and called for the officials to resign.
He is calling on OSBI to investigate the situation.
Additional lawmakers have also called for Sheriff Kevin Clardy to resign. The NAACP is asking that the FBI and The Department of Justice investigate.
According the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association press release on Tuesday:
“This morning the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association Board of Directors met in an emergency meeting to discuss the recent events in McCurtain County. With a unanimous vote and following the OSA Bylaws Sheriff Kevin Clardy, Investigator Alicia Manning and Trust Administrator Larry Hendrix were suspended from the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association. OSA Bylaws state “A member may be suspended for good and sufficient cause. by the Board of Directors at its regular monthly Board Meeting by a majority vote of those present constituting a quorum. The member may appeal in writing the suspension within sixty (60) days after notice to the OSA Board of Directors of the Corporation for a final decision by a majority vote of those present constituting a quorum”. Any further action will be by the OSA Board of Directors.”
The Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association is not a regulatory agency but a membership organization only.
The McCurtain Sheriff’s office released a statement concerning the allegations saying, “there have been a large number of threats of violence including death threats” against unspecified county employees, officials, their families and friends since the conversation was first reported.
The statement said the sheriff’s office will issue news releases until its investigation concludes “and findings are forwarded to the appropriate authorities for felony charges to be filed on those involved.”