Two Oklahoma officers who arrested a mentally ill man in pain, thinking he was faking his illness, were placed on administrative leave after threatening and ultimately detaining him at a hospital.
The inmate later died.
Cleveland County jail and Cleveland County Sheriff’s Department in Oklahoma released body camera footage, showing the death of 34-year-old Marconia Kessee while he was in custody.
According to the victim’s uncle, Michael Washington, Kessee had a headache and was taken to the hospital but after the hospital released him, officers forced Kessee from the property.
“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,” Washington explained.
Kesse was taken to the Cleveland County jail, where he was placed in a padded cell after he allegedly tried to hurt himself. He was later found unresponsive and pronounced dead.
The disturbing video shows the officers telling Kessee they needed to take him outside and that he must leave the hospital. Kessee couldn’t easily move, so the officers put him in a wheelchair, as his hands tremble when he attempts to put on his glasses.
But the antagonistic officers thought he was faking everything.
He was not. When Kessee tried to standup, he fell.
“He’s just acting like this to get back in the hospital,” said one of the officers.
“Hey, Mr. Kessee, listen to me, OK? You can stop with the show,” another officer shouted.
“Yeah, it ain’t fooling a single person, I can tell you that,” said the other officer.
The victim tried explaining why he came to the hospital, but the officers were of no help, instead asking if he did drugs.
“You’re not on drugs?” an officer asks. Kessee shouted “No!”
Once the victim stepped out of the hospital, the officers wanted him to quickly put his shoes back on, without realizing his condition.
"Here in about 15 seconds, I'm going to drag your [expletive] to the curb to get you off this property and then you can find your own way to the Salvation Army. OK? Put your shoe on. I'm losing patience," said the officer.
The victim ended up on the ground with handcuffs on.
Even though the officers did nothing to help the mentally unstable man, the Norman Police Chief Keith Humphrey claimed the officers had nothing to do with his death.
Police responded to three calls that night at the hospital, two prior to Kessee’s as well as one at the detention center where he was sent.
“I just got a message from my supervisor that we’ve got a patient out in our waiting room that’s wigged out and they need some assistance,” the caller from the hospital said.
“Wigging out means to me that someone who’s not quite capable or understanding his immediate environment or situation,” Washington said, explaining how Kessee should have been in a crisis center instead of the jail.
The Norman Regional Hospital refused to comment on the case. An internal investigation is underway.
Thumbnail/Banner Image: Reuters, Phil McCarten