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Tulsa widow to file wrongful death lawsuit against McCurtain County Sheriff’s Office and others

Posted at 11:09 PM, Apr 19, 2023

IDABEL, Okla. — A Tulsa attorney says he and his client will be in Idabel on Thursday morning to announce a wrongful death civil rights lawsuits against the McCurtain County Board of Commissioners, Sheriff Kevin Clardy, deputies and others.

Barbara Barrick, who lives in Tulsa, is the wife of Bobby Barrick. He died while in the custody of McCurtain County Sheriff’s deputies in March 2022. After reportedly breaking property at a convenience store in Eagleton and causing a scene, citizens hogtied Barrick before deputies arrived.

In a press release from attorney Mitchell Garrett’s office, he says the deputies used unreasonable force, including tasers, while Barrick was handcuffed. He says the deputies were instructed to turn off their body cameras.

Barrick reportedly had a seizure and died five days later.

Coincidentally, the lawsuit is being filed as Idabel-based local newspaper, McCurtain Gazette, published a QR code to the body camera footage worn by officers the night of his death.

In the disturbing two-minute video, Barrick is heard repeatedly screaming concerns they were going to kill him.

The Gazette took the McCurtain County Sheriff’s Office to court after the department repeatedly denied their open records requests regarding the Barrick case, including the footage and other requested information. Gazette reporter, Chris Willingham, has been investigating potential corruption within the MCSO for nearly two years.

When an article published last week included an audio link to Sheriff Kevin Clardy and others allegedly making racist and hateful remarks, Governor Stitt called for their resignation. Sheriff Clardy has not resigned and posted to Facebook earlier this week that he intends to investigate the authenticity of the audio recording.

MCSO lead investigator Alicia Manning, jail administrator Larry Hendrix and County Commissioner Mark Jennings were also allegedly heard in the video. Jennings is the only one to submit his resignation.

 In the first clips published by the newspaper, the group is heard discussing a wide variety of topics, including the murder of journalists, reminiscing lynching and mocking murder victims.

Audio Recordings Outrage Residents

On Thursday, the paper published the entire 3-hour recording, citing transparency. There is a lot of cursing and, in addition to offensive remarks, the conversation is bizarre. The group is heard talking about anything from basic purchases to wanting to beat up the District Attorney. They are heard mocking and criticizing several people (from citizens arrested to judges). At one point, they laughed about a donkey who accidentally strangled itself.

The OSBI and Oklahoma Attorney General say they are investigating the recording.

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