Discharged Patient Arrested for Refusing to Leave Hospital Dies in Jail
A homeless man who was treated at Norman Regional Hospital was arrested for refusing to leave; he died two hours later in jail.
The death of a homeless man has been called into question after he was discharged from an Oklahoma hospital and died in prison after being arrested for trespassing.
Marconia Kessee, 34, was treated for a headache at Norman Regional Hospital on January 16. Kessee was later arrested for trespassing after he was discharged but refused to leave, according to The Mighty.
According to police body camera footage, the responding Norman police officers assisted Kessee into a wheelchair to escort him outside to take him to the Salvation Army located across the street.
The video then shows Kessee stand up and fall to the ground, shaking and yelling. One officer is heard saying, “You can’t just act like this to get back in the hospital, that’s not how it works.”
While on the ground, officers ask him several times to go to the Salvation Army. After approximately 10 minutes of refusing to leave, both officers can be seen dragging Kessee by the arms across the sidewalk where he is handcuffed and arrested for trespassing.
While at Cleveland County Jail, police say Kessee was moved to a padded cell and checked on routinely after he tried to hurt himself. During one of the checks, Kessee was found unresponsive and was brought back to Norman Regional where he was pronounced dead. His cause of death hasn’t been released.
According to Kessee’s uncle, Michael Washington, his nephew was diagnosed with ADHD and bipolar disorder as a child and should have been taken to a crisis center if he was “wigged out”. A hospital security officer allegedly requested that when he called 911 to have Kessee removed from the hospital.
“I wasn’t there, but I believe it in my heart that he refused to leave because he wasn’t treated and he felt that he needed more medication because his headache was still hurting him,” says Washington. “We believe that there was no actual mental evaluation. We believe that the doctors, hospitals, did not review or take the physical assessment of my nephew and that they are partly responsible, and they will be held accountable.”
The two arresting officers, later identified as Master Police Officer Kyle Canaan and Officer Daniel Brown, have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
The Norman Citizens for Racial Justice, a local advocacy group, is demanding the resignation of both officers, reports OU Daily. The group claims the hospital escorted Kessee off the premises because he was exhibiting “drug-seeking behavior”.
“NC4RJ watched the body camera footage and agree Norman Regional Hospital was negligent and that the Norman Police Department treated Marconia with extreme cruelty, denying him basic human rights, and profiling him because he was black, homeless, and ill,” says a Facebook post from the group.
The group is also calling for a city inspection of the health conditions at the Cleveland County Detention Center, a city review of the discharge practices at Normal Regional, improved officer training for interactions with mentally ill and homeless persons and the creation of a civilian advisory board to allow for independent investigations of deadly use of force by police and deaths in police custody.
Kessee’s death is under investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations. Both the hospital and the Norman Police Department have also launched their own investigations.
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