The national movement for the end of racism in the criminal justice system helped motivate Michael Rowe and others in Pottawatomie County to call for criminal charges after the death of a Native American man.
“Recent events that happened in Minnesota with Mr. (George) Floyd is bringing a light to all of our communities out here. Especially the Native (American) community,” Rowe said.
Rowe and dozens of others marched to the Pottawatomie County District Attorney’s office Friday with signs reading “Justice for Ronnie Given.”
Ronald Given died in a hospital shortly after he was booked in the Pottawatomie County Public Safety Center in January 2019.
According to a report by the state medical examiner, Given was “injured or became ill” at the jail on January 9, 2019, the day he was booked. He was pronounced dead on January 16 at SSM St. Anthony’s.
Given’s death was classified as a homicide, according to the report, and was likely caused by organ failure due to “cardiac arrhythmia,” a “struggle resisting restraint by officers” and a “violent mental/psychiatric disorder.”
Rowe and others called on the district attorney to charge the jail workers involved with a crime related to the death.
“Protect us. Protect our rights. Be man enough to do that,” Given’s aunt Eva Given said. “Live up to what you swore to do instead of just wanting our votes.”
“Those that are responsible for this need to be held accountable,” another protestor said.
A spokesperson for the Pottawatomie County District Attorney’s Office said they were busy Friday and would respond to questions early next week. The jail administration did not return a request for comment.