OKLAHOMA CITY – Two news organizations have filed a federal lawsuit accusing Oklahoma prison officials of violating the First Amendment by preventing reporters from viewing portions of a botched execution.
Monday's lawsuit follows the April 29 death of inmate Clayton Lockett, who writhed, moaned and clenched his teeth before dying. Prison officials halted the execution after discovering a problem with an intravenous line. Lockett died of a heart attack about 10 minutes later.
Officials lowered a shade nearly 20 minutes after Lockett's execution started, blocking witnesses' view of the gurney. The Oklahoma Observer and the Guardian US are asking a federal judge to declare that the press be allowed to view an execution in its entirety.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie declined to comment.