No one injured in fuel truck explosion at Oklahoma prison
STRINGTOWN, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma prison officials say no one was injured when a fuel truck exploded and burned on the grounds of a southeastern Oklahoma prison.
The state Department of Corrections says the privately owned gasoline truck exploded shortly after noon Friday on the grounds of the medium-security Mack Alford Correctional Center in Stringtown, about 108 miles (174 kilometers) southeast of Oklahoma City.
The explosion occurred at a fueling station on the prison's grounds and blew debris onto the median of nearby U.S. 69, which runs along the prison's east side. Officials say the truck was destroyed but no structures were damaged by the resulting fire, which was extinguished by firefighters and emergency crews.
The cause of the explosion and fire is under investigation. The prison housed 797 male inmates on Friday.
Oklahoma woman charged in children's deaths hospitalized
OKMULGEE, Okla. (AP) — Authorities say an eastern Oklahoma woman charged with killing two of her teenage children and trying to kill a third has been hospitalized after apparently trying to take her own life in jail.
Okmulgee County authorities say 38-year-old Amy Leann Hall was transported to a Tulsa hospital in serious condition Friday.
Sheriff's Office spokesman Duston Todd says Hall attempted to take her own life in her jail cell and that authorities are still investigating the circumstances.
Hall is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the November shooting deaths of 18-year-old Kayson Toliver and 16-year-old Kloee Toliver and one count of shooting with intent to kill involving a 14-year-old daughter who was wounded but managed to take the gun from her mother.
Police not releasing more info about fatal shooting of teen
EDMOND, Okla. (AP) — More than 10 days after police in Oklahoma killed a naked, unarmed, black teenager who had broken into a home, authorities have released little additional information about the shooting, including the race of the two officers involved.
Sgt. Milo Box and Officer Denton Scherman have been on paid leave since the April 29 shooting in which police say 17-year-old Isaiah Lewis attacked the officers after they followed him into the home in the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond. Police provided a basic account of what happened, including that a stun gun was used with no effect, but have declined to provide additional information, including whether both officers fired shots.
The Oklahoma medical examiner's office has said only that the teen died of "multiple gunshot wounds."
Police spokeswoman Jenny Wagnon on Friday referred questions about the shooting to District Attorney David Prater, who did not immediately return a phone call for comment. Wagnon referred questions about why information hasn't been released to City Attorney Steve Murdock.
"I don't think there's anything in the open records act that requires us to release that information," said Murdock, who declined further comment
Wagnon has said the two officers were not wearing body cameras and that the results of the investigation will be sent to Prater.
Lewis' mother, Vicki Lewis, has not returned phone calls seeking comment.
During the 911 call that prompted police to respond to the neighborhood, a woman who identified herself as Lewis' 18-year-old girlfriend tried to take the phone from her neighbor to tell dispatchers that her "boyfriend just flipped out. I have no idea what's going on."
Other 911 calls later reported Lewis stripped off his clothes as he ran down the street. Police later said they chased him as he jumped fences before breaking into the house where he was shot.
Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson, a leader of the Oklahoma City chapter of Black Lives Matter, which organized a rally in Edmond in support of Lewis' family, said she has spoken with Vicki Lewis, who told her that police are still waiting on the medical examiner's report on what, if any, drugs or alcohol were in Isaiah Lewis' system when he died.
"Not that I think that matters, but it could explain his irrational behavior," Dickerson said.
The results of that report are not expected for several weeks, police have said.
Freedmen citizenship lawsuit against Oklahoma tribe rejected
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — A lawsuit from the descendants of black slaves who were once owned by members of the Muscogee Creek Nation and who are seeking citizenship in the tribe has been dismissed, with a federal judge ruling that they should go through the tribe's own legal process first.
U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington, D.C., dismissed the Muscogee Creek freedmen descendants' lawsuit this week seeking citizenship in the Creek Nation, the Tulsa World reported. The Okmulgee-based tribe is the fourth largest in the country, with over 86,000 enrolled citizens.
The descendants filed a lawsuit last July against the Creek Nation and the U.S. Department of the Interior seeking full tribal citizenship and to have the tribe's constitution declared in violation of the Treaty of 1866, which guaranteed tribal citizenship to the tribe's freed slaves and their descendants, as well as black Creeks.
In 1979, the department approved a law in the tribe's constitution that restricts citizenship eligibility to those with proof of Creek lineage.
Kollar-Kotelly stated in her decision that the descendants' court filings did not include specific accusations or records that showed they had applied for tribal citizenship and were denied within the last decade.
"Failed attempts to obtain a grant of citizenship from the MCN Citizenship Board as well as refusals by the tribal courts to reconsider adverse determinations may show that tribal exhaustion may be futile," Kollar-Kotelly wrote. "But, plaintiffs have failed to produce sufficient evidence that a remedy through the tribal process would be illusory in this case."
Kollar-Kotelly also granted Creek Nation Principal Chief James Floyd's motion to dismiss the case without prejudice. As a result, the descendants could re-file their suit in federal court if the tribe rejects their citizenship requests and after they go through the appeals process in the Creek Nation judicial system.
Damario Solomon-Simmons, a Tulsa attorney representing the descendants, said the group hasn't made a decision on whether to appeal, submit extra documentation and ask for reconsideration or adhere to Kollar-Kotelly's ruling and pursue citizenship through the Creek Nation's citizenship board and court system.
The Cherokee Nation faced a similar lawsuit that was resolved in 2017 after a federal court ruled that the Cherokee Freedmen have a right to tribal citizenship.