Gay, small-town Oklahoma clerk claims harassment in lawsuit
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A retiree who moved with his husband to the tiny western Oklahoma town of Hitchcock alleges in a federal lawsuit filed this week that he was routinely harassed by townspeople and ignored by law enforcement until his home was burned to the ground.
Randy Gamel says in the civil rights lawsuit that he was targeted because he was gay and because he and his partner brought their black child into the nearly all-white town. Others, including a sheriff's official named in the lawsuit, say it was Gamel's behavior, not homophobia and racism, that led to problems. A criminal investigation into the fire is pending.
Blaine County Undersheriff David Robertson described Gamel as a bully who sought to impose his will on the town and constantly clashed with longtime locals.