In newly released bodycam footage, an Oklahoma police officer is heard replying, "I don't care" to a dying man saying, "I can't breathe." The incident took place on May 20, 2019, as three officers were arresting 42-year-old Derrick Scott. The footage was just released this week by the Oklahoma City Police Department, according to NBC News.
Police were responding to a call about a black man arguing and brandishing a gun, and when they arrived on the scene they found Scott attempting to flee. In the footage, after being apprehended, Scott is heard asking for his medicine, and stating that he can't breathe, Oklahoma City police officer Jarred Tipton is then heard saying, "I don't care." Another officer then tells Scott that he "can breathe just fine." Scott eventually becomes unresponsive, with an officer attempting to give him CPR before paramedics arrive. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Newly released body camera footage from an arrest in Oklahoma City last year shows a suspect saying “I can’t breathe,” and an officer responding "I don't care," before the man died at a hospital. https://t.co/vWxNPbxthr— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 11, 2020
NBC News was able to obtain a copy of the autopsy report, which listed a collapsed lung as his cause of death, and his manner of death as "undetermined." The autopsy reported stated the police response was not found to have resulted in "fatal trauma." It listed a number of other "significant" factors that likely contributed to Scott's death, such as asthma, emphysema, heart disease and believed recent methamphetamine use. However, it did also list "physical restraint."
The Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office completed an investigation of the incident, which Oklahoma City police Capt. Larry Withrow stated cleared all the officers involved. He also brushed off Tipton "I don't care" comment as something that happens in the "heat of a conflict." Withrow added, "Certainly that may be something an officer says. Just understand — the officers are fighting with someone at that point." In response, Scott's uncle, Ronald Scott, was quoted as say that he was "bothered" by how the officer's "treated" Scott's life. Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson, of Black Lives Matter OKC, added, "There is a lack of a focus on humanity and civility."
Scott's story shares many similarities with that of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis on May 25, while in police custody. During an arrest, former officer Derick Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, while Floyd cried out that he hurt and couldn't breathe. An initial Hennepin County Medical Examiner report stated that "no physical findings" supported "a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation," but it was believed that being restrained by Minneapolis Police during his arrest "likely contributed" to Floyd's death.
The statement also cited personal health issues such as coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease as possible contributing factors. It also pointed to "potential intoxicants" in his system, which were later determined to be "fentanyl intoxication," as well as signs of "recent methamphetamine use." Floyd's family had an independent autopsy done, and according to pathologists Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson, they found that his death was a "homicide caused by asphyxia," due t the knee on his neck, as well as two other officers applying pressure to other parts of his body.
Notably, the final Hennepin County Medical Examiner report listed Floyd's death as a "homicide," with the cause being "a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s)." Chauvin has been arrested an charged with second-degree murder, as well as second-degree manslaughter. The other three officers — Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao — have all been charged with "aiding and abetting second-degree murder" and "aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter."