A homeless person drowned in the United States under the gaze of police officers who did not give him help, according to several images and a transcript published Monday by authorities. The agents were called early May 28 near the artificial lake in Tempe, Arizona, due to the “noise” caused by the man, who later died, and his partner.
After speaking with the couple, officers approached the homeless man, identified as 34-year-old Sean Bickings, for questioning in turn, according to a statement issued by city authorities.
After a few minutes, Bickings jumped over the fence that protects the lake and lowered himself to the surface of the water. The agents told him that he did not have the right to swim in the lake, but the 30-year-old swam to an area under a bridge anyway.
The released footage is then cut short, as the city deemed the rest of the video too “sensitive,” but they provided an audio transcript.
“What are you going to do now?” an officer asks. “I’m going to drown. I’m going to drown,” Bickings says, according to the transcript. “No,” the officer replies.
A second policeman then asks the man to swim to one of the bridge’s columns and tie himself to it. “I can’t, I can’t,” Bickings yells. “Ok, I’m not going to jump for you,” the second agent warns him.
According to the rest of the transcript, the policemen continued to insist that the man manage to save himself, rejecting the efforts of his partner who begs for help. “Can you hear me?” are the last words attributed to Bickings. Later, one of the policemen says that he “hasn’t come to the surface for about 30 seconds.”
His body was finally recovered in the morning. The three policemen were suspended pending the results of various investigations launched by the authorities, said the city, which announced its intention to publish cameras from other agents in the coming days.
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