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Updated: Dec 24, 2023

The Muscogee Lighthorse Tribal Police has issued an arrest warrant for an Okmulgee County (Oklahoma) jailer for allegedly assaulting a tribal officer. The incident involved two officers fighting during a dispute over a jail booking and was captured on a body camera.


This development marks a significant point in the ongoing jurisdictional disputes between the Muscogee Nation and local law enforcement, particularly following the landmark McGirt v. Oklahoma ruling. That landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2020 affirmed that much of eastern Oklahoma remains Native American territory for the purposes of federal criminal law.


The conflict began when Lighthorse Tribal Police arrested a non-Native man for possessing fentanyl. Attempts to book the man at the Okmulgee County jail led to a confrontation, with jail staff refusing custody.  A physical altercation ensued between Okmulgee County jailer Mathew Douglas and Lighthorse Deputy Chief Dennis Northcross. As of December 21, Douglas had not surrendered to authorities, and his legal representation status remained unclear.

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