Warner City Employees Accused Of Making Racial Slurs Resign
WARNER, Oklahoma - A recording has surfaced in the town of Warner that accuses two city employees of making racial slurs.
A public meeting was held Wednesday to talk about those accusations.
The two employees accused of making those slurs resigned Wednesday and people who live in Warner said that recording is sending shockwaves through their small town.
Just after learning Joe Swimmer and Matt McLean had resigned, their former co-worker Michael Wittmer was given a warm embrace by community leaders and others.
"I commended him for taking the stand over and against the fact that he could be retaliated against,” said Reverend Rodger Cutler with St. Mark Baptist Church in Muskogee.
Wittmer said he recorded the men making racial slurs in reference to Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
In the recording, you can hear employees say:
Employee 1: “We get Martin Luther King Day off?"
Employee 2: “No n***** day for us.”
Employee 1: “We’re off for n***** day?”
Employee 2: “Yes.”
Employee 1: “It says holidays, we take holidays.”
Employee 2: “I’m not celebrating n***** day.”
Employee: “We can just call it JER Day. James Earl Rat. That’s what we always celebrate. Not that we don’t like black people.”
Employee: “I’m not racist. I’m just saying that’s what it’s called here.”
Wittmer said he started taping conversations with his co-workers in July of last year to protect his job.
He said the resignations were a step in the right direction, but that more needs to be done.
"It's disappointing because it should have never gone this far, they should have took care of the problems, to start with upper management," Wittmer said.
Town Attorney Tom Wright said the words that were said are unacceptable and that an investigation has been launched and it will be led by the Town administrator Johnny Lewis.
"Not only what was said, but who said it, and if they were on the job or if this was outside of work exactly what happened," said Wright.
Wittmer claims he's been dealing with this type of hostile work environment for about two years.
Rev. Rodger Cutler said while he is satisfied with the outcome, he hopes the town will take the investigation seriously.
"Did their public jobs affect any African Americans? Did their position effect those persons of color? That's what needs to be looked into," said Cutler.
The town attorney said no action was taken against Wittmer for recording the conversations, and Wittmer said he'll continue to work and stay in Warner.
News On 6 was told the investigation is expected to take several weeks.