NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — A social media comment that called Norman Mayor Breea Clark a vulgar name and lamented that “politicians don’t get hung in public anymore” has triggered a police investigation.
Clark has come under fire for her order in Oklahoma’s third-largest city that prevents large gatherings inside places of worship. She and City Council members Kate Bierman and Sereta Wilson have been criticized on a “Re-Open Norman” Facebook page.
The Norman Police Department said it was investigating after Clark reported the Facebook post, which read: : “Mayor (expletive), needs to be pulled out of office and tried on the court house lawn...the problem with politicians, they don’t get hung in public anymore….#bringbackpublichangings!”
In a statement issued Thursday, Clark said none of her decisions “were made with the intent to hurt residents or businesses.” She observed that “people are scared, depressed, and even angry right now,” and that she appeared “to be an outlet for those volatile emotions. We’ll get through this, and when we do, I hope those residents find some peace.
“With that said, I will not hesitate to report death threats, especially when they come from people who are supposed to be protecting residents, not encouraging them to hang people on courthouse lawns,” her statement concluded.
The Facebook comment that’s being investigated by police was attributed to Eddie Zaicek, a police officer in nearby Lexington who acknowledged being part of the “Re-Open Norman” group but denied posting the comment, saying his account had been hacked.
The state’s attorney general and a U.S. attorney have both warned Clark to lift the order after the governor had said churches could reopen. Also, the Oklahoma House narrowly approved a bill on Thursday to strip some power during health emergencies from mayors and other local officials, conferring broad authority on the governor and others during health emergencies if the Legislature agrees. The bill now heads to the Senate.