DEATHS

Matthew Robert Elliott, 34

Born October 18, 1984

Died January 17, 2019

Alice Jean Ricketts-Culp, 91

Born July 15, 1927

Died January 16, 2019

Charlotte Jackson, 75

Born September 21, 1943

Died January 16, 2019

CLICK TO SEE MORE >>

Our death notices and obits are always free to the families and funeral homes.

THINGS TO DO

Sunday, January 20

Painting with Gwyn 3rd Sunday
Vision Board Workshop
Christian Life Class - Jonah - You Can't Outrun Grace

Monday, January 21

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - Parade & Celebration
Georgia-Pacific Playground - Ribbon Cutting Celebration
Antioch, The Temple of Hope
MIN 4523: American Indian Ministry Internship 2019
PS Academy Oklahoma Real Estate Pre-Licensing Course
Semi-Annual Clearance Sale
Act Like Men Study - Don't Waste Your Life

Tuesday, January 22

The Real Okie Movie Night Presents, Pretty in Pink!
National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week®- Awareness Campaign
LiveLoveCycle Indoor Training
Semi-Annual Clearance Sale

Sunday, January 20, 2019, 10:34 AM

Jimmy Thompson

Muskogee registered its first homicide of 2019 on Saturday as Jimmie Thompson was stabbed and killed at 525 N. 6th St around 4 p.m., according to Officer Lincoln Anderson.

Police officers were dispatched to a possible robbery and assault at that location and found Thompson there with stab wounds. Muskogee County EMS transported him to Saint Francis Hospital in Muskogee, where he died as a result of his injuries.

Investigators talked to people at the scene and identified a suspect, Allen Syfrett, 54, of Muskogee. Syfrett was located at a separate residence and arrested at 7:45 p.m.

No further details are yet available.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1548001899.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/muskogee-man-stabbed-to-death-suspect-arrested

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Friday, January 18, 2019, 7:25 AM

The Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in locating, Johnathan Paul Barns, of Gore. Yesterday, around 5 a.m., night shift deputies attempted to stop a stolen vehicle out of Tulsa. The vehicle failed to stop and a pursuit ensued. After deputies chased the vehicle for several miles, the vehicle stopped and the driver and passenger ran on foot.

Deputies were able to apprehend the passenger, Darren Wayne Lyle, 29, of Gore who was arrested for warrants.

The driver was able to escape deputies on foot, but left behind some information in the vehicle that helped to identify him. The Sheriff’s Office posted a message to Johnathan today on their Facebook page:

“So, Johnathan Paul Barns, Sheriff Frazier has a message for you: We would love to return your property and talk to you about your warrant. You are also facing numerous charges in Muskogee County and it would be much easier if you would turn yourself in. If you need a ride, we can help you out, our number is 918-687-0202.

But, if you don’t want to turn yourself in, the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office will be out looking for you. Until then, we’ll hold on to your state ID and the other items you left in the car.”

Barns is facing new charges and currently has a no-bond warrant for false declaration of ownership.

Anyone with any information about the location of Johnathan Barns in asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 918-687-0202.

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Thursday, January 17, 2019, 9:09 AM

Majority Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, and State. Rep. Jason Dunnington, D-Oklahoma City, filed legislation today that would make State Question 780 retroactive.

House Bill 1269 would provide post-conviction relief to Oklahomans whose convictions took place prior to State Question 780 passing but would have been affected had SQ780 been in place.

State Question 780 changed certain non-violent drug- and theft-related crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, which come with a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a fine of $1,000, thereby reducing the number and duration of state prison sentences for those crimes.

“It is time for Oklahoma to get out of the business of arresting and prosecuting individuals afflicted by drug addiction,” Dunnington said. “We have Oklahomans that are labeled as felons, and their crimes would be legal or a much lesser crime today. These folks are disenfranchised, and their families are suffering. This legislation seeks to heal these wounds and continue Oklahoma down the road of responsible criminal justice reform.”

Dunnington and Echols, who have worked together on bipartisan legislation in the past, said they see this bill as a chance for lawmakers to come together and do what is best for Oklahoma.

“The people of Oklahoma have spoken loud and clear on the issue of criminal justice reform,” Echols said. “I look forward to working with members of both parties to find not Democratic or Republican solutions, but Oklahoma solutions to the issues facing this state. This bill will be a great step in that direction.”

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019, 8:20 AM

Christopher D. Ross

Christopher D. Ross, 41, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with a felony count of first-degree rape of an unconscious victim, according to documents filed with the case.

Ross, who was convicted in McIntosh County in 2007 of lewd molestation and sentenced to nine years in prison, moved to Muskogee and allegedly did not inform police of his sex offender status. On Oct. 23 of last year around 8:30 in the morning, he is alleged to have had sexual intercourse with a woman who was not conscious at the time and did not give her consent.

Other residents at the location where the rape allegedly occurred are listed as witnesses in the case against Ross, as are OSBI agents and numerous police officers and medical professionals.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1547648155.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/registered-sex-offender-charged-with-raping-unconscious-muskogee-woman

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019, 8:08 AM

Kenneth D. Farguson II

Kenneth Dale Farguson II, 39, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with two felony counts of child sexual abuse.

Farguson is accused of molesting two minors starting in June of 2016 and ending Jan. 11 of this year, according to documents filed with the case.

Very few other details are provided. Farguson will face a sounding docket at 10 a.m. on Jan. 29.

Farguson was convicted in 2005 of lewd molestation in Tulsa County and sentenced to seven years suspended.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1547647609.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/muskogee-man-charged-with-two-counts-of-child-sexual-abuse

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Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 9:18 AM

The Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center will hold a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Remembrance Program on Jan. 18 at 11 a.m. in the auditorium.

The public is invited to attend the program, which has the theme “The Fierce Urgency of Now”.

Featured speaker for the program will be Kenyatta Wright, a motivational speaker and former football player for Oklahoma State University and the New York Jets.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Jan. 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods.

The Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center is located at 1011 Honor Heights Dr. in Muskogee.

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Monday, January 14, 2019, 2:45 PM

Daniel Edmonds

Daniel Edmonds, 35, of Porum is in the Okmulgee County Jail on complaints of child sexual abuse, according to sources in the Muskogee County Sheriff’s Office.

Edmonds, who ran as a Republican against then-incumbent Dan Boren for the 2nd District Congressional seat, is facing three complaints of child sexual abuse of two children, ages 13 and 16, in activity that is alleged to have occurred over the course of several years.

On Dec. 20 of 2018, Edmonds was alleged to be involved in the molestation of one of the children, the other ranging over several years, the source inside the Sheriff’s Office said.

“There is potential for other victims,” the source said. “We are hoping they come forward.”

Edmonds will be transported to the Muskogee County Jail today and is expected to be charged with the crimes later.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1547498546.jpeg https://muskogeenow.com/former-congressional-candidate-arrested-accused-of-child-molestation

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Monday, January 14, 2019, 2:18 PM

Muskogee Public Schools are being accused of violating school policies and possibly Constitutional rights when they searched a 13-year-old African-American girl who other students accused of having drugs. A caucasian girl accused in the same incident was not searched, according to the girl’s mother, Kyla Breshers.

Breshers said the girl was told other students had told administrators she had drugs or knew where drugs were.

“She was in the hallway (at Alice Robertson) and the officer came and asked her name and told her to come with him,” Breshers said. “She was taken to a room and searched by two male officers with no female present and no member of administration present.”

No drugs were found, and the girl’s mother said she has never been in any kind of trouble at the school.

Breshers said she asked the school for the policy on searching students and received a document that stated an adult of the same gender as the student must be present, and a school principal must be present when searches are done.

When she contacted the school board, no one returned her calls, she said. The girl is now having panic attacks and is being harassed by other students asking her where drugs are.

When asked, Steve Braun, spokesman for the schools, issued the following statement:

Muskogee Public Schools does not comment on specific student discipline.

Per School Board of Education Policy – Section JFG:

“Teachers, administrators and school security personnel (school officials) are authorized to detain and search a student where the school official has a reasonable suspicion that the students in in possession of: dangerous weapons, controlled dangerous substance, beverage containing alcohol, electronic paging devices, and missing or stolen property.

Reasonable suspicion means that there must be reasonable grounds to believe that the search will reveal a violation of school rules or produce evidence of unlawful activity.”

Regarding interrogations and searches of students, when a search of a student’s person is deemed necessary due to reasonable suspicion, a person of the same sex as the student will conduct the search per school board of education policy JFG. A certified person of the same sex as the student will also be present if practicable.

The school board policy aligns with Oklahoma Statute 70 section 24-102.

Muskogee Public Schools continues to review its policies and procedures to better create a culture of learning.

Asked whether a person of the same gender as the student was present during the search, Braun replied “we cannot discuss personnel issues.”

In response to questions of what “reasonable suspicion” the schools had to search the girl, Braun said “the issue of reasonable suspicion can be reported by any reliable source which allows for us to search a student or their belongings. Reasonable suspicion can simply be a student, parent, or staff member reporting something to the administration.”

Pressed further, Braun provided this link to the law regarding searching students.

However, that link makes it clear that “the reasonable suspicion should be based on more than a hunch or rumor,” in contrast to the schools’ statements that “reasonable suspicion can be reported by any reliable source.”

The site goes on to say “anonymous tips usually aren’t good enough on their own to justify a search.”

The Supreme Court has ruled that, in certain circumstances, even teachers observing suspicious behavior does not constitute reasonable suspicion to conduct a search of students, who according to the Supreme Court, do not abandon their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search when they enter schools. In fact, the court specifically ruled that a Texas student should not have been searched when the administration received information that the student was dealing drugs. That search was ruled not reasonable and thus illegal.

The schools did not respond to questions about why the caucasian girl was not searched, stating “We do not comment on student discipline, which means we cannot confirm or deny something in that regard.”

https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/muskogee-schools-search-13-year-old-black-girl-allegedly-violating-school-policies-dont-search-white-girl-similarly-accused

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Monday, January 14, 2019, 10:26 AM

Courtney Vaughn

Courtney Vaughn, 32, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with two felonies: obtaining cash by false pretenses and violation of Oklahoma statute via computer, according to documents filed with the case.

Between June of 2017 and June of 2018, Vaughn is accused of stealing $17,165.25 from the bank account of Jack Keeling of Muskogee and putting the money in accounts belonging to her.

According to an affidavit filed with the case, Vaughn, who also goes by Courtney Tedder, embezzled the money from Keeling by using her computer to access his checking account and pay household and credit card bills, and transferring money to her own accounts. Keeling’s bank reimbursed him $6,579.07, which left him with a total loss of $10,588.18.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1547482842.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/fort-gibson-woman-charged-with-stealing-17167-from-muskogee-man

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Monday, January 14, 2019, 10:01 AM

The longest federal government shutdown in history has already negatively affected Muskogee government workers who didn’t receive paychecks last week. The shutdown is also poised to potentially throw up to 700 families who don’t work for the government out of their homes.

On Jan 10, the Muskogee Housing Authority sent a letter to Section 8 property owners that if the shutdown lasts much longer, they will no longer receive the payments that allow them to offer lower rent to needy families.

“This shutdown includes the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is the agency that provides funding for the Muskogee Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher program,” the letter read. “While funds are being provided for housing assistance payments to be made on February 1, there is no such provision for payments to be made beyond that date.”

The local agency is asking homeowners to consider reaching agreements with their tenants in anticipation that the eventual reopening of the government might provide back payments.

“There has been no guarantee from the federal government that amounts due prior to the reopening of the government will be paid,” the letter stated, however.

The letter requested that homeowners contact federal legislators and the White House to urge them to resolve the issues leading to and sustaining the shutdown.

https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/700-muskogee-families-could-be-homeless-as-shutdown-defunds-housing-agency

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Friday, January 11, 2019, 9:02 AM

State Sen. Mary Boren has filed legislation aimed at putting more resources directly in the classroom for textbooks and other teaching materials. Her bill also requires that funding allocated for instructional materials is used for that purpose.

Boren, a former educator who has previously worked for both the State Department of Education the State Regents for Higher Education, said Senate Bill 206 would increase the per-pupil amount for textbook and other instructional materials, which includes things like e-books, software and other related materials. The measure would increase that amount from $55 to $200.

“When I worked for the Department of Education in 2001, the state was providing $55 per student. Even though costs have risen dramatically since then, that amount is still just $55—plus, during the economic downturn, districts were given the ability to redirect those funds to other areas,” said Boren, D-Norman. “The combined result is school after school with tattered, outdated and insufficient textbooks and instructional materials and teachers and supporters being forced to plead for donations. If we want our children to be able to compete, they need current textbooks and materials. Forcing teachers and supporters to turn to outside fundraising may help in wealthier districts, but in many communities throughout the state, the resources simply aren’t there and our children are not getting the instructional materials they need to succeed. After looking at other states and visiting with Oklahoma teachers and administrators, it’s clear that $200 is a much more accurate reflection of the actual cost of instructional materials.”

Boren said that since statehood, Oklahoma’s Constitution has required the state to provide textbooks.

“The vision for our public schools was that all children would have an equitable educational opportunity but without adequate state support it cannot happen,” Boren said.

Boren’s legislation would also expand textbook selection committees at the local level to make sure teachers from each school within a district are included in that process.

“Those committees are evaluating material for every grade level, but under the current structure, you may or may not have teachers from all grade levels included,” Boren said. “My language will include teachers from each district’s elementary, middle and high schools on those textbook committees.”

https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/senator-introduces-bill-to-increase-state-funding-for-textbooks

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019, 8:57 AM

Ashley Bryant

Ashley Bryant, 30, of Haskell is charged in Muskogee County District Court with two felony charges: child neglect and bringing contraband into jail, according to documents filed with the case. Her residence is listed as Haskell on the charges, but Keota in booking sheets.

On Jan. 5, according to an affidavit, Bryant is alleged to have been visiting an inmate at Jess Dunn Correctional Facility in Taft. Correctional officers said she went to the restroom inside the visiting area, where a correctional officer witnessed her put something into a diaper bag she was carrying with her. The officer searched the bag and found an object wrapped in black tape, which contained a substance that turned out to be marijuana.

The officers at the prison had received a tip that Bryant was going to use her two daughters to smuggle drugs into the prison by putting the drugs in their diapers and later exchanging it with the inmate during visitation.

One child is two years old, one is two months old. She will face arraignment on Jan. 22.

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1547045578.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/haskell-woman-charged-with-smuggling-weed-into-prison-in-a-diaper-bag

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019, 8:40 AM

Oklahoma Natural Gas customers will see lower bills this year after the Oklahoma Corporation Commission voted yesterday to return $22 million to its customers over the course of this year.

ONG Customers will receive $22.7 million in savings over the next year. Customers will receive a rate reduction of approximately $11 million plus $11.7 million in one-time credits from ONG’s income tax savings after the federal income tax rate fell to 21 percent. The average residential customer will see approximately $15 in savings next month and a smaller balance in subsequent months for the rest of the year.

Attorney General Mike Hunter said the rate reduction and credit comes at a particularly helpful time, with the coldest months of the winter still ahead.

“Winter is one of the most expensive times of year for natural gas utility customers,” he said. “Reducing rates and giving money back to customers will help a lot of Oklahomans. I commend the OCC commissioners, who approved this order.”

https://muskogeenow.com/muskogeenow.png https://muskogeenow.com/ong-to-return-22-million-to-customers-this-year

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019, 8:37 AM

Jacob Mar, 27, of Checotah was hurt around 5 p.m. yesterday after the 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass he was driving collided head-on with a 2009 Chevrolet Suburban driven by Marlene Blue, 55, also of Checotah, according to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

The wreck, which happened two miles west of Checotah at the intersection of Business 69 and 1090 Road, occurred when Mar was passing a northbound vehicle on the highway and struck Blue, according to the patrol. Mar was pinned in his vehicle for 20 minutes before being freed by the Checotah Fire Department cutting him out of the car. Blue was also pinned for the same amount of time and was freed with a crowbar.

Mar was flown by helicopter to Saint John’s Hospital in Tulsa, where he was admitted with trunk and head injuries. Blue and an unidentified juvenile passenger were transferred to Saint Francis Hospital in Muskogee, where they were treated and released.

Improper passing was cited as the cause of the wreck.

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Monday, January 7, 2019, 8:04 AM

The Bass Reeves Conference Committee will honor U.S. Deputy Marshal Bass Reeves on the anniversary of his death in January 1910. A special memorial event will be held on Saturday, January 12 at 3:00 p.m. at the Three Rivers Museum in Muskogee.

In period dress, re-enactors with the Bass Reeves Legacy Troupe will remember the legendary lawman who concluded his 34-year career serving as a Muskogee Police Officer. A local youth choir will provide music and a eulogy and video will celebrate his life.

This will be followed by a funeral procession from the museum to Second Street which had been Reeves’ beat while he served on the Muskogee police force. Refreshments will follow the memorial at the museum. The event is free and open to the public.

Reeves was among the first African Americans to serve as a marshal west of the Mississippi. Making over 3,000 arrests during his illustrious career marks him as one of the most successful lawmen in U.S. history.

Each year, the Conference Committee hosts the Bass Reeves Western History Conference to bring attention to this outstanding Oklahoma lawman. This year’s event will be held on July 26 and 27 in Muskogee. More information is available at bassreevesconference.com.

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Monday, January 7, 2019, 7:58 AM

State Rep. Avery Frix recently was appointed by House Speaker Charles McCall to serve as a member of the Joint Committee on State Tribal Relations. The committee is responsible for overseeing and approving agreements between tribal governments and the State of Oklahoma.

Frix, who represents McIntosh and Muskogee Counties in House district 13, is one of 10 legislators to be appointed to the committee and one of only five appointed by the speaker of the House.

“It’s an honor to be selected for this position,” said Frix, R-Muskogee. “Maintaining good-faith relationships with our tribal governments is of paramount importance in Oklahoma.”

The Committee on State Tribal Relations was first enacted in state statute in 1988.

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Thursday, January 3, 2019, 1:38 PM

Jason Williams, 36, of Muskogee is charged in Muskogee County District Court with felony assault and battery on a police officer, misdemeanor obstructing officer, disturbing the peace and trespassing after being forbidden, according to documents just filed at the courthouse.

Williams, according to a police affidavit filed with the case, “threatened and harassed employees of Walmart before our arrival, making them retreat into an office.”

In addition, Williams is alleged to have refused to identify himself in response to officer commands, refusing to obey commands after being informed he was under arrest and striking Officer Bryan Wilkins in the chest will resisting arrest. Police pepper sprayed him in a video that has now gone viral, leading to numerous threats from across the country to the police, the police station, Walmart and MuskogeeNOW.com for reporting the incident.

Williams, who claims to be an Army veteran disabled during deployment in Afghanistan, has had those claims come into question, too. An Army acquaintance says Williams was never deployed to any combat zone and was “thrown out” of the military and stripped of any military status to the point that he can’t legally call himself a veteran.

The acquaintance, who asked that his name be removed due to numerous threats he received from his name appearing in this story, said Williams wasn’t injured in the Army and that “he was at my house last year, working on his RV in my garage, climbing a ladder, etc., and going on long hikes on my land.” He also alleged that Williams is “always looking for a way to sue someone ... this guy is bad news.”

The case filed today has 12 witnesses endorsed for the state of Oklahoma.

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Thursday, January 3, 2019, 10:07 AM

Chase Waldon

Chase Alexander Waldon, 21, of Tulsa is charged with first-degree robbery and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony (both felonies) in Muskogee County District Court after a ride share operator was allegedly forced out of her car at gunpoint last week.

According to information filed with the case, Jessica Hedges was working at her ride share business when Waldon allegedly forced to get out of her 2010 Kia Soul by pointing a gun at her face. The gun turned out to be a BB gun fashioned to look like a Beretta, but the district attorney’s filing notes that the pistol was “capable of raising in the mind of one threatened with such a device a fear that it was a real firearm.”

https://muskogeenow.com/story_images/1546531197.jpg https://muskogeenow.com/man-charged-with-carjacking-ride-share-driver

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019, 10:11 PM

Muskogee Public Schools have canceled classes for tomorrow, Thursday, Jan 3, due to inclement weather.

Classes are scheduled to resume on Friday, Jan. 4, according to Steve Braun, director of communications at the district.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019, 7:34 AM

WARNING, this story contains explicit language.

After publishing the story about the man claiming to be a disabled veteran being pepper-sprayed by Muskogee police, MuskogeeNOW.com received dozens of phone calls, texts and emails from people claiming to be experts on the law.

The police department has received numerous threats, including “putting officers in body bags” and blowing up the police station, the 911 call center and other threats, according to sources inside the police department.

“You are wrong,” one text to MuskogeeNOW indicative of the rest stated. “Do your research. He did not have to show his ID to the police because he didn’t commit a crime. That’s where the cops went wrong.”

“What the fuck is wrong with you, you hick ass morons,” another started. “You will all burn in hell you fat pieces of shit.”

“You make me sick,” another stated. “Change your tittle(sic) you fucking morons!!!”

For the record, MuskogeeNOW did not and does not take a position on the merits of the man’s case. By reporting the police response to the controversy, many people assumed we were supporting the police, which we were not; neither were we supporting the man. We simply believe all sides of a story should be reported when possible.

For clarification, the United States Supreme Court has ruled in Hlbel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada that police who have reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal involvement by a subject can legally demand the subject to provide identification. The court ruled that, because providing identification cannot incriminate someone, being required to provide identification in those narrow circumstances does not violate the Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination.

Subjects are not required to answer any other questions while being detained by police, according to the ruling.

After viewing three videos of the incident, it is clear that the police informed the man he was under arrest — and thus not free to leave the store — because they suspected he was involved in disorderly conduct by allegedly being abusive to the staff at Walmart, who had called the police to the scene.

There are two situations in Oklahoma under which a person can legally refuse to identify themselves to police: 1) Oklahoma is not a “stop and identify” state, so police cannot just randomly require you to show ID, and 2) if you are not suspected of a crime. In other words, if a police officer asks you to show your ID, but upon questioning does not say you are suspected of an articulable crime, you are not required to show your ID to them. However, if the officer says you are suspected of a crime he or she can articulate with reasonable suspicion that you might be involved, you are required to show your ID to them. In that circumstance, refusal to provide your ID is probable cause enough for you to be arrested.

This case will ultimately be decided by the district attorney, and later, should the DA decide to prosecute, the courts. The man involved is innocent of any crime until he is convicted in a court of law.

UPDATE: There are now numerous reports that the man’s claims of being injured while deployed in Afghanistan are being challenged by officers and fellow soldiers who served with him in Germany. An ex-wife and several soldiers, including a man claiming to be his commander during his time in Germany have stated that the man was never deployed to Afghanistan, and that when he was “kicked out” of the Army, he was healthy and not disabled.

In addition, in this post from Facebook:

...the man is threatening to run over people who are protesting, claiming he would be justified because “obstruction of traffic, loitering, disturbing the peace and even jaywalking” are laws that shouldn’t be broken without consequences.

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Monday, December 31, 2018, 6:28 AM

Muskogee Police Sergeant CB Abel, Officer Jeramie Garcia and Cherokee Nation Marshal Mike Reece spent quality time with several children from the Murrow Youth Home over the weekend hunting deer, thanks to an unnamed property owner and three sponsors: George W. Abel, James L. Abel and Todd Rackley.

The officers and children scouted for a day before the hunt and picked their prospective hunting locations, then the children were picked up before daylight and taken to the stand sites. The first deer was taken around 7:30 a.m., the second around 8 and the third around noon.

Meanwhile, officers and children sat around the campfire and enjoyed a big breakfast, which was provided by the landowner. The deer were taken for processing, and will be delivered to the hunters and their families when processing is complete. The sponsors paid for clothing needs, license fees and processing for the hunters.

The children were not identified due to privacy concerns.

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Monday, December 31, 2018, 6:11 AM

A video circulating through social media over the weekend has many Muskogee residents up in arms by depicting Muskogee police officers subduing a man in a wheelchair who claims to be a disabled veteran.

The man, according to police, refused to allow family members to show identification to Walmart employees while trying to buy alcohol. The man “became hostile and created a disturbance,” Officer Lincoln Anderson said, which was when police were called to the scene.

The man refused to identify himself to officers, Anderson said. He was told that if he didn’t provide identification, he would be arrested for obstruction, and still refused to identify himself.

Police told the man he would be arrested for obstruction and that he was trespassing on Walmart property. He was asked to leave Walmart and to get into his own wheelchair from the store’s motorized cart. At that point, Anderson said, the man began to actively resist, including striking a police officer. He was then warned he would be pepper sprayed, but continued resisting.

The man was then pepper sprayed and continued to resist until multiple officers were able to subdue him and put him into handcuffs. He was transported to Saint Francis Hospital in Muskogee by Muskogee County EMS to be checked for injuries he was claiming to have sustained.

All told, police officers spent 20 minutes trying to convince the man to cooperate before the confrontation became physical.

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Monday, December 31, 2018, 5:53 AM

The Muskogee Civic Center has announced a change to an upcoming event. Resolution Fight Night, previously scheduled for January 5, will be moved a month out to Saturday, February 9, 2019.

“Typically, any change to a previously scheduled event is something we like to avoid but in this case, we’re excited to make the move,” said Muskogee Civic Center General Manager John Cruz. The reason for the change? The World Boxing Council came to the Muskogee Civic Center and their co-host Fusion Boxing, expressing interest in featuring the very first WBC belt fight in the area. The WBC approved a 142-pound weight class belt fight making a crucial step for fighters in the Midwest region. Fighters from Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois and even as far away as Connecticut and Nevada will make the trek to Muskogee to vie for the honor of hoisting the WBC belt.

The new fight night event will be regulated by the United States Muay Thai Association.

The February 9 fight event showcases twelve matches, including two main events: a promising heavyweight bout (225 pounds) featuring Delvin Nichols vs. JW Hester. The final fight is the battle for the WBC 142 pound belt with Ryan Hoover vs. Austin Streicher.

Representatives from the WBC have scheduled a tour of the Muskogee Civic Center for the coming weeks for the planning of future events.

“The WBC is looking at Muskogee as a host site for Boxing Junior Olympic qualifiers as well as becoming the host site for regional Golden Gloves fights,” Cruz said. These events will present tourism and economic development opportunities via visitation from the fighters’ friends, family and supporters from multiple states. Muskogee is poised to become a regional mecca for boxing for youth to senior levels.

Tickets start at just $10 for general admission and ringside VIP table seats with exclusive service for only $50. Corporate packages and sponsorships are available. Get tickets at: muskogeeciviccenter.com, ticketstorm.com, or on the day of the event, February 9, 2019, at the Muskogee Civic Center Box Office beginning at 5:00 p.m. Official bouts begin at 7:00 p.m. with pre-fights at 6:00 p.m.

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Thursday, December 27, 2018, 12:09 PM

An indoor archery contest is set for Dec. 29 at Hatbox Field, 600 S. 40th St.

Similar to the state contest, this will be a five-spot contest. Trophies and prizes are available, as well as concessions.

The event starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m., with a $20 registration at the door.

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Monday, December 24, 2018, 8:08 AM

Muskogee Science Technology Engineering Arts & Math Center will be hosting the first ever Tinkerfest Saturday, January 12 at 6 p.m.

Enjoy robotics demos, airplane design, constructions and more at the event.

Representatives from Microsoft will be attending the event bringing XBoxes, Surface Tablets, O-Bots and the Microsoft Surface Studio.

Admission is free and food will be provided. Space is limited to the first 150.

To register, visit Muskogee Interactive Arts & Science Center on Facebook or click here.

For more information on how you can sponsor this event, click here.

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Friday, December 21, 2018, 12:14 PM

Longtime Muskogee investigative reporter Donna Hales has passed away, family members are telling MuskogeeNOW.com.

Hales worked at the Muskogee Phoenix from the 1980s to just a few years ago, when she retired after a string of health problems for herself and her husband.

Hales’ reporting was instrumental in bringing down corrupt state and local institutions and politicians.

Hales died after long struggles with her health, including several strokes and broken bones. She was in hospice care when she died of what is being called natural causes.

Hales worked at the Muskogee Phoenix from 1985 until after a stroke in 2011 forced her retirement. After her retirement, Hales frequently told family members she was going to get better and come work for MuskogeeNOW.com.

We are getting more information now and will add to this story as we can.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I worked beside Donna — literally the next desk over — for 20 years, and we became close friends. When I started MuskogeeNOW (ten years ago next month), Donna was very encouraging and after she retired, she would frequently provide me with news tips and other information. When my first wife miscarried our only child together, Donna rushed to my house with a homemade lasagna and cried with us for the loss. Though she made many enemies in her time as a reporter, she made just as many friends and admirers — and many times the same people were both. I will miss her.

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Friday, December 21, 2018, 10:58 AM

Hilldale Public Schools Board of education surprised the kids this morning at Hilldale Elementary by dressing as elves and Santa to greet students.

Superintendent Eric Puckett is in the Rudolph costume.

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Friday, December 21, 2018, 9:25 AM

The Swon Brothers will play a concert tonight at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, 401 S. 3rd., to benefit the Salvation Army.

The musical duo have been touring the world and making albums since leaving Muskogee and coming in third on The Voice, but they come back to help local charities occasionally.

The show’s general admission is sold out already, but VIP packages are still available at the American Bank of Oklahoma.

The show begins a 7:30 and lasts until 9 p.m.. Proceeds benefit the Salvation Army.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018, 11:12 AM

State Rep. Avery Frix was named chair of the House Transportation Committee by House Speaker Charles McCall on Tuesday. Committee chairmanships and vice chairmanships were announced for the 57th Oklahoma Legislature, which includes 2019 and 2020.

“Safe and well-maintained roads and bridges are the lifeblood of Oklahoma’s economy,” said Frix, R-Muskogee. “Our ability to transport our families safely and move our goods efficiently is of utmost importance. I’m incredibly grateful to be asked to lead this vital committee in only my second term of office, and I’m eager to start working on solutions that will improve transportation in our state and in my district.”

McCall said he chose committee chairs based on their background, experience and knowledge and their ability to promote a legislative agenda that will improve prosperity and safety for Oklahomans.

The makeup of House Committees for the 57th Legislature will be determined in the coming weeks.

Frix previously served as vide chair of the House Appropriations & Budget Subcommittee for Transportation and on the Banking and Business, Energy and Natural Resources, and Judiciary Committees.

Frix was elected to his first term in the House in 2016. He is not term limited until 2028. He represents Oklahoma House District 13, which includes parts of McIntosh and Muskogee Counties.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018, 7:08 AM

Muskogee residents are encouraged to keep their annual tradition or start a new tradition, by sharing the priceless gift of blood donation by giving blood on Saturday, December 22, at the Arrowhead Mall between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Blood donors will receive a free Fandango movie voucher and, a long-sleeved holiday t-shirt when they give blood with Muskogee local blood supplier, Oklahoma Blood Institute.

As the nation’s 6th largest non-profit blood collector, Oklahoma Blood Institute’s donors provide every drop of blood needed for patients in more than 160 hospitals statewide. It takes nearly 1,200 donors a day to meet those needs.

Appointments to give blood are not required but can be made by calling Oklahoma Blood Institute at 877-340-8777 or visiting obi.org.

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