Arizona Police Placed On Leave After Watching Man Drown

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Three police officers in Arizona have been placed on leave after they failed to rescue a homeless man from drowning.

Newly released bodycam footage and transcripts show the man, Sean Bickings, 34, getting into Tempe Town Lake last month and warning police he was “going to drown”.

But none of the officers on the scene intervened to save him, with one heard saying: “I’m not jumping in after you.”

Mr Bickings soon slipped underwater and was later declared dead.

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Describing him as “an unsheltered Tempe community member”, city authorities called his death a “tragedy”.

The incident took place after 5:00 local time (12:00 GMT) on 28 May, when officers responded to a call about an alleged fight between the man and his partner in the city centre.

According to the city’s statement, the couple “cooperated fully and denied that any physical argument had taken place”.

However, police footage showed that while officers were checking the couple’s names for outstanding arrest warrants, Mr Bickings climbed over a metal fence dividing the boardwalk from the lake and entered the water.

He told the officers he was going “for a swim”, waded in and swam towards a bridge even after they informed him swimming was not allowed in the lake.

The 12-minute-long bodycam video ends around this time, with a message at the end claiming it was “due to the sensitive nature of the remaining portion of the recording”.

The city instead provided a transcript of the remainder of the exchange, in which Mr Bickings repeatedly said he was on the verge of drowning and needed to be saved.

The transcript also showed officers tried to calm down Mr Bickings’ companion as she grew increasingly distraught, telling her they were getting a boat.

At one point, she shouted: “He’s drowning right in front of you and you won’t help”.

Mr Bickings did not resurface.

The three officers involved in the incident have not been named.

They are on “non-disciplinary paid administrative leave” as their response is examined by the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the police department of neighbouring Scottsdale.

Source: BBC News

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Oh-ho, so at five o’clock in the morning, you decide you’ll go for a swim, officers warned you against it but you did anyway, and now they’re suppose to jump after you … umh, I see …

  2. Most likely was a man of African descent, but that is not the point. The point is the Police stood by while a human being, no matter what colour, drowned. AND they are still getting paid while on leave! BTW not all police are white in the USA, there are black Police too, and some have also acted badly towards their so called “brothers”. Not all white people are bad and not all black people are good. Humans need to move beyond judging each other by the colour of their skin or by their socio-economic status…

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