The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and two newspapers filed a lawsuit Monday claiming that Oklahoma prison officials blocked reporters' view of Clayton Lockett's botched execution in April.
The federal lawsuit filed by the ACLU, its Oklahoma chapter, The Guardian, and the Oklahoma Observer seeks to "stop Oklahoma prison officials from selectively filtering what journalists can see during an execution."
Lockett, 38, died of a heart attack 43 minutes after being injected with a new drug combination that left him apparently writhing and moaning in pain.
The lawsuit claims that prison officials lowered the shades of the execution chamber when Lockett's lethal injection began to go wrong, leaving no independent witnesses to his death.
The lawsuit says that the state violated the First Amendment by blocking reporters' access to witness the execution from start to finish.
The lawsuit demands that reporters and other witnesses are permitted to view the execution from the time the inmate enters the chamber until the body leaves it.
An Arizona inmate's prolonged execution in July led to conflicting reports from witnesses.
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at email@example.com.
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