Discrimination case in Hitchcock intensifies
by Kara Kliewer
Early Sunday morning, we brought a story to you about an Oklahoma gay couple’s fight for justice. Today, we have obtained more information from exclusive interviews.
We spoke with the plaintiff, Randy Gamel-Medler and his son, Xavian. Gamel-Medler says that he has evidence to support the accusations listed in the lawsuit, stating his attorney has it on file.
“Records are stored with state auditor’s office, budget and warrants are at the bank. You can burn my house down, but the city’s financial records are at the bank.”
Gamel-Medler moved to the small town of Hitchcock, Okla., after finding a home on Craigslist that suited his family’s needs at the time. He commuted to and from their home in Fort Worth to Hitchcock until the home was ready for them to reside.
“When my son showed up in August, ‘Oh Dear God,’” said Gamel-Medler. “He [son] was black, and my partner started coming down [to Hitchcock]. It went downhill from there.”
Gamel-Medler indicated that perhaps the town wasn’t ready for a gay couple with a black child.
Before the family moved to Hitchcock, Gamel-Medler earned the title of town clerk.
“The prior town clerk had resigned because members [officials] didn’t obey the law. When I took the job, they told me they would be honest and obey the law.”
Gamel-Medler said to the council upon being named town clerk, “Anytime we have a problem, we’ll go to the law, and whatever the law says we’ll do.
“When they closed city hall, I started to get the records and the mayor and his friends started emptying out city hall. They emptied the city vault. When I went to the county prosecutor he said the mayor could steal records if he wanted, and I said, ‘you can’t hide the records from me.’”
Gamel-Medler went on to say the city got a grant to build a fire station for a quarter of a million dollars, asserting that the fire chief and his father owned the company hired to build the new station.
“We paid them state money to build the fire station which is illegal.”
After multiple threats of violence, name-calling and harassment, Gamel-Medler said they were finally forced to leave town.
“Deputy Kissimee warned me that they were going run us out of town and there were threats that our house was going to be burned down.”
In the early morning hours of Memorial Day, reports say Gamel-Medler heard glass breaking, and the house started burning. He got his son and pets out hastily, but was unable to save anything else.
Gamel-Medler said the fire trucks were there quickly, but after arriving, “All of the fireman were just standing there for just five minutes. When the fire finally got to the top of the house they started very slowly [unloading] the hoses. They sat until they knew the house couldn’t be saved.”
According to a report by News9, Mayor Richard Edsall said, “Our volunteer fire department was at the fire within six minutes putting water on it. I was in my robe fixing to go to bed when I heard the ruckus and I went down there and grabbed a hose, and started spraying the fire.”
Gamel-Medler went on to say, “Gene and I, we’ve been together 27 years. We’re used to being bullied. But we have a 7-year-old son, and he doesn’t understand this. To do that to a 7-year-old, and then be indignant about it... I just don’t understand that kind of hate. When my son won’t sleep at night and he cries all of the time... how do you explain to a 7-year-old how people behave this way.”
Troy Stevenson, Executive Director of Freedom Oklahoma said, “We have just secured funding for an independent investigation. We hired an investigator to make sure that we’re covering our bases. We believe that there is a thorough investigation that needs to be done and time is escaping. We’re trying to capture as much evidence and information as possible.”
The Gayly spoke with Xavian who said he was very sad. “Yah, all of my spider man toys are gone.”
Gamel-Medler said in closing, “There is evidence of all of this stuff, but I can’t tell you where it is or who gave it to us. We have proof of everything in that filing.”
Gamel-Medler indicated he is intentionally being ambiguous at this point to protect his sources.
According to Undersheriff David Robertson, “Everything that he [Gamel-Medler] put in there [the lawsuit] is false, and we will prove that.”
He went on to say, “As far as anything related to the lawsuit, I’m going to have to refer you to the attorney.”
Robin Dorner, Editor in Chief contributed to this story.
Copyright The Gayly – 8/8/2017 5:46 p.m. CST