The McCurtain County Commission and county officials have been under greater scrutiny after a series of recordings of a secret meeting was revealed.
Now the McCurtain News-Gazette, a local print-only newspaper, has also released body camera footage of the McCurtain County Sheriff and his deputies on the night that they arrested Tulsa man Bobby Barrick. The man died in the custody of the police in March 2022.
"After reportedly breaking property at a convenience store in Eagleton and causing a scene, citizens hogtied Barrick before deputies arrived," local KJRH reported late Wednesday night.
Tulsa attorney Mitchell Garrett said in a press release that Barrick experienced another example of unreasonable force, including tasers while he was handcuffed. Barrick then had a seizure and was dead five days later. The lawsuits are against the sheriff's office as well as the McCurtain County Board of Commissioners and includes wrongful death and civil rights violations.
The lawsuit was filed before the McCurtain Gazette-News published a QR code leading to the body camera footage.
The lawsuit also comes after Sheriff Kevin Clardy was revealed to have joked with Commissioner Mark Jennings, who resigned Wednesday along with three others, about the days when the deputies could abuse and lynch Black men. Barrick, however, was white.
The two-minute video shows Barrick screaming that he was afraid they would kill him.
"They're going to kill me!" he shouted while handcuffed inside of the police car.
"He's doped up hard," the deputy says to one of the paramedics.
The video is part of an ongoing effort by the Gazette to obtain the video with open records requests. The paper took the McCurtain County Sheriff's Office to court. It's part of a two-year investigation into potential corruption in the MCSO that reporter Chris Willingham has followed.
The MCSO has said that they will investigate the authenticity of the audio, but in the same statement, they also said that it was doctored. The following day, the paper released the full three-hour recording.
The MCSO has also contacted the Oklahoma state FBI offices asking that the paper be investigated for illegally recording the meeting that was supposed to be open to the public. The paper's publisher said in a statement that he spoke with his lawyer twice to ensure that he could leave the recorder in the room upon leaving.
See the body camera footage below or at the link here.
McCurtain County Sheriff's Office arrest of Bobby Barrick who later died youtu.be