Oklahoma Watches and Warnings

“We want justice,” Protesters call for firings in death of Norman man

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NORMAN, Okla. - Protesters have gathered on Sunday in front of Norman Regional hospital saying they are continuing the push for justice and calling for big changes at the hospital, Norman Police Department and Cleveland County Jail.

Protest chants were heard calling for the Norman Regional president and attending physician to resign over the death of Marconia Kessee.

On January 16, Kessee was treated and released from the hospital emergency room. Kessee was then arrested by Norman police when he wouldn’t leave the hospital grounds. Kessee was taken to the Cleveland County Jail, where he died shortly after.

"When are the police going to be held accountable? When are the doctors and the nurses going to be held accountable?" said protester Maoi Topaum. "These are the people that have jobs to help serve us, and they are not doing it."

Protesters at the rally said Kessee’s history of mental illness should have been enough to keep him alive.

"They assume anyone who acting strangely is on drugs and, because of the war on drugs, that means they take him over and arrest him," said protester Matthew Clayton. "In this case, it cost a man his life."

Kessee’s uncle, Michael Washington, cited medical records that Kessee was not treated properly to call for the firings.

"We know for a fact that was a sham and mockery of treatment, and we want justice," Washington said. "We want them gone."

Washington called for the firings at the hospital, but he also said the two officers at the Norman PD and personnel at the Cleveland County Jail should go as well.

"Are you ready for this one? I said Marconia died less than two hours later and, yet, he was fit for incarceration," he said.

Norman Regional and the Norman police department worked together to rope off a place for the protesters in the parking lot. The hospital said they openly gave medical records to Kessee’s family and issued this statement to News 4 on Sunday:

"Norman Regional Health System respects the demonstrators’ right to be heard and supports the right to free speech; because of this, we reserved a safe and convenient location on our hospital campus for them to gather. Our goal is to work together to ensure the safety and well-being of Norman Regional patients, visitors, staff and today’s demonstrators.

Norman Regional Health System provided the full and complete medical records of Mr. Marconia Kessee to Mr. Michael Washington, the identified power of attorney. We are committed to transparency. We are currently awaiting the results of the medical examiner’s report, which is critical to our ongoing internal review. In addition, due to federal patient privacy regulations, we are unable to share specific details of the patient care provided."

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