Oklahoma City police have opened an investigation into the death of a man allegedly choked and punched by EMSA personnel treating him at a downtown bus stop, authorities said Wednesday.
Jason Marshall, 42, died Aug. 8, two days after fighting with fire department and EMSA workers checking on his medical condition, court papers show.
“It is under investigation as a suspicious death at this time,” Oklahoma City police Capt. Dexter Nelson said Wednesday. “We are investigating to determine what, if anything, happened.”
Marshall died of natural causes, a spokeswoman for the state medical examiner's office said Wednesday. The spokeswoman, Amy Elliott, said Marshall died of congestive heart failure. A toxicology report is not ready, she said.
Police investigators seized 448 pages of medical records Wednesday from St. Anthony Hospital, where Marshall died, and 12 pages of medical records from EMSA.
“Emergency medical personnel are often put in situations that can be dangerous,” EMSA said in a statement. “This report was investigated internally by EMSA and Paramedics Plus and externally by the office of the medical director. Federal privacy laws for the patient prohibit EMSA and Paramedics Plus from responding further.”
Police launched their investigation after fire department officials told them about the incident last week, Nelson said
“They didn't think it was a natural death,” he said.
According to a search warrant affidavit, fire department and EMSA personnel responded to the Union Bus Station at 427 W Sheridan Ave. on Aug. 6 to check on a man who “was acting disoriented and causing problems.”
Firefighters were able to talk Marshall into getting into an ambulance, but he “became violent and began assaulting fire and EMSA personnel,” police reported.
Marshall “kicked and scratched one fireman then bit the thumb of an EMSA worker,” police said, adding that first responders had to fight with Marshall to restrain him and sprayed an anti-anxiety spray into his nose.
The spray, police reported, caused Marshall to calm down and pass out or lose consciousness.
During the struggle, “EMSA personnel placed Marshall in a choke hold and struck Marshall in the face area several times,” investigator Ryan Porter wrote in the affidavit.