Arizona police have launched an investigation into three officers who watched as a man called for help in a lake and eventually drowned. That reports 12 News. The incident was recorded via a bodycam of one of the officers.
The incident took place in the early morning of May 28, near the Elmore Pedestrian Bridge in Tempe. Police officers arrived on the scene following a call regarding a couple who had caused a nuisance. It would be 34-year-old Sean Bickings and a friend of his.
After a police questioning, Bickings stated that he was going into the water. “I’m going for a swim,” he says in the video. “I’m free to go, right?” The officers told Bickings not to swim in the water. Much to their chagrin, he ignored their orders and went into the lake anyway. According to local authorities, Bickings did so to evade several arrest warrants previously issued.
What exactly happened after that remains unclear for now because the Scottsdale police have not released those fragments. The images would be too sensitive to view and could be experienced as shocking. According to 12 News, witnesses agree that Bickings drowned in the water after he was not helped by the police.
This is also confirmed by the transcript released by the Tempe police. It can be read that Bickings indicated from the water that he would drown. “Come back to the pylon,” one of the officers replied. “I can’t. I can’t,” Bickings yelled back. Then another officer said, “Okay, but I’m not jumping after you,” to which Bickings is said to have responded with, “Please help me. Please, please, please.” The transcript continues and reads that Bickings repeatedly begs for help.
Sean Bickings: “I’m going to drown. I’m going to drown.”
Tempe Police Officer: “No, you’re not.”
Bickings: “I’m drowning!”
Officer: “Come back over to the pylon.”
Bickings: “I can’t.”
Officer: “I’m not jumping in after you.”
[Bickings’s dead body was recovered hours later.] pic.twitter.com/gVJfy9iEaA
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) June 7, 2022
Bickings’ girlfriend was in a great panic at the time and was still standing near the officers. “I’m just distraught. He’s drowning right in front of you and you’re not helping him ,” she is said to have said. While the dire situation took place, the police officers present would have refused to help Bickings or give instructions that could save his life.
Instead, they analyzed how long Bickings lasted in the water and reportedly counted them aloud when he submerged and disappeared from their sight for thirty seconds. His body was recovered from the water by the Tempe fire and rescue team several hours later. The officers are currently on hiatus.
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