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Protests in McCurtain County after release of threatening audio recordings

Posted at 9:22 PM, Apr 16, 2023

IDABEL, Okla. — McCurtain County residents are at the Board of County Commissioners office Monday to protest racist and threatening statements made by county officials.

2 News Oklahoma's Erin Christy is in Idabel Monday to investigate as these protests unfold.

The McCurtain Gazette News revealed alleged recordings of racist and threatening statements from the county sheriff, commissioner, investigator and jail administrator. The comments are allegedly from the county commissioners' meeting on March 6.

In response, Governor Kevin Stitt called for them to resign. He called the comments abhorrent and said he is going to ask OSBI to investigate whether anything illegal occurred.

"I am both appalled and disheartened to hear of the horrid comments made by officials in McCurtain County. There is simply no place for such hateful rhetoric in the state of Oklahoma, especially by those that serve to represent the community through their respective office. I will not stand idly by while this takes place.

In light of these events, I am calling for the immediate resignation of McCurtain County Sheriff Kevin Clardy, District 2 Commissioner Mark Jennings, Investigator Alicia Manning, and Jail Administrator Larry Hendrix."
Governor Stitt

The Oklahoma attorney general confirmed to 2 News his office is investigating the situation in McCurtain County.

The town's hospital also announced a lockdown Monday due to the protests in the area.

"A lockdown closes all entrances to MMH except the Emergency Room public entrance. Only persons seeking medical treatment will be allowed to enter. Children under age 18 may enter with one guardian. All outpatient services will be cancelled for Monday and the MMH Cafe will be closed to the public," the post reads.

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