Pittsburg County Commissioner Ross Selman used a hammer to remove two police only parking signs bolted to a curb at the Pittsburg County Courthouse two years ago. After recently reaching an agreement with the city of McAlester to defer prosecution in the matter, he told us that he should’ve used a screwdriver instead.
That’s still the wrong tool to use — and indicates Selman’s lack of remorse for destroying public property and breaking the law.
Selman told the News-Capital in April 2019 that he was “fighting for his people” when he removed the sign with a hammer.
He was upset that law enforcement was enforcing the law by ticketing county employees — particularly Selman — for illegally parking near the courthouse.
Selman told us at the time that the county gave law enforcement the “police only” parking spots.
He expected something in return by law enforcement not ticketing county employees in illegal parking spots.
That’s a quid pro quo — a favor with the expectation of something in return.
He told us Monday “the county believed we owned the curb and the sidewalk.”
In reality, the courthouse is property of Pittsburg County residents. County commissioners take care of it for us and their jobs are temporary.
But that doesn’t excuse an elected official — who’s paid with public dollars — from destroying public property — which is paid for with public dollars.
Selman also paid a $75 traffic ticket for illegally parking — but only after he fought the ticket in municipal court.
He broke laws through his actions in the matter — illegal parking and malicious injury to property — but won’t face charges after signing a deferred prosecution agreement.
The agreement Selman signed March 26, 2021 states the district attorney “has sufficient evidence at this time to charge the accused (Selman) with the crime of malicious injury to property, a misdemeanor.”
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter assigned District 16 District Attorney Jeff Smith’s office to the matter after District 18 District Attorney Chuck Sullivan recused himself.
Smith’s office and Selman reached an agreement with the city of McAlester to defer prosecution for two years — if he meets the following conditions:
• Selman must pay $75.64 restitution for damage to the signs
• He must not violate laws or ordinances of any city, state, or of the federal government, excluding traffic laws
• He must not lie or misrepresent the truth to any branch of the government or its representative.
The agreement depends entirely on Selman’s conduct and any violations could lead the district attorney to terminate the agreement and file criminal charges.
So he apparently can still illegally park — but could face charges if he hammers the signs again.
Despite all the evidence against him proving he broke laws and he was wrong, Selman didn’t express regret to us.
When we asked him if he learned anything from the matter, Selman told us “Maybe I should have went and got my screwdriver.”
Maybe Selman should follow the law.
McAlester News-Capital Editorial Board