Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter's office appointed a prosecutor to determine if the results of the McAlester police investigation regarding the removal of two "Police Only" parking signs by District 3 Pittsburg County Commissioner Ross Selman warrants the filing of criminal charges.
Hunter appointed District 16 District Attorney Jeff Smith to serve as prosecutor in the case.
The McAlester Police Dept. started an investigation last week. After Selman was ticketed April 10 by city police for parking in a no-parking zone on First Street, he took a hammer and knocked two parking signs off a curb on the east side of the Pittsburg County Courthouse. The signs designated the two parking spaces near the Carl Albert Parkway as for "Police Only."
McAlester police identified Selman as the man shown on a security video using a hammer to pound the two signs off the sidewalk.
After the signs were removed, McAlester police began an investigation regarding allegations of malicious injury/destruction of property and a misdemeanor complaint of obstructing a public right of way. They identified Selman as the man shown on a security video using a hammer to forcibly remove the two signs from the sidewalk.
Asked about the incident, Selman told the News-Capital he decided to open up the two parking spots so county employees could use them.
"I'm just fighting for my people," Selman said.
The state attorney general's office became involved after District 18 District Attorney Chuck Sullivan recused himself and his office from acting on the manner. While Sullivan is the top prosecutor in Pittsburg County, his office represents also represents the Pittsburg County commissioners in their official capacity.
Oklahoma First Assistant Attorney General Dawn Cash granted Sullivan's request to recuse, or disqualify, his office from handling the case involving the Pittsburg County commissioner.
She notified Sullivan that the AG's office has appointed Smith to handle the case.
"Please make arrangements with Jeff Smith, District Attorney, District 16, for the transfer of all files and reports related to said matter," Cash said in the letter, obtained by the News-Capital through the Oklahoma Open Records Act.
Cash also sent a letter from the AG's office to Smith, thanking him for agreeing to handle the matter and appointing him "to prosecute this case as you deem appropriate and in the best interest of justice." She also sent Smith a copy of Sullivan's recusal letter.
"Please make arrangements with to retrieve the necessary files and reports relating to this matter," Cash said in her letter to Smith.
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