No jokes this time. 

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Jerry Bennett

The fact that Shannon Hanchett died on her twelfth day in the Cleveland County jail is no laughing matter.


It's impossible to find humor in the fact that she languished behind bars over an astonishingly minor infraction until they found her dead inside a cell after nearly two weeks.


And all because she called 911 a couple of extra times because she wanted a welfare check on her children. Mental episode or no, how does a simple request for a domestic contact between a willing father and a distraught mother result in an arrest and not a ride home or to a crisis center? Why was sitting in the Cleveland County jail a better choice? Who did this protect? How did it serve justice or the community? How?


All we have is body-worn camera footage that shows a calm if not entirely collected woman no longer begging but demanding that law enforcement check on her children ending up in handcuffs. And now she’s dead, in part because no one came to post a couple hundred bucks in cash bail.


Make it make sense. Because even after the launch of 988Oklahoma, a mental health advocate, bakery owner and a community ally and pillar in the “liberal” college town of Norman, still died alone because a police officer chose punishment and threw her into a criminal justice system that cared not about caring for her.


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