Three US police officers have been sent on forced leave after refusing to save a homeless man from drowning.
Newly released bodycam footage and transcripts from the death of Arizona man Sean Bickings in May showed nearby officers failing to do their duty as a panicked Mr Bickings told them he was “going to drown”.
He told several nearby Tempe Town Lake Police officers multiple times that he was in danger — but none intervened to save him.
“I’m not jumping in after you,” one officer is heard saying in the 12-minute bodycam video.
Mr Bickings, 34, slipped underwater soon after. He was later declared dead.
According to a Tempe Town Lake statement released on Monday night, police were responding to a reported disturbance between Mr Bickings and his partner.
Officers reported the couple “cooperated fully and denied that any physical argument had taken place”.
However, while police ran their names through a database used to check whether people have outstanding arrest warrants, Mr Bickings climbed over a nearby metal fence dividing the boardwalk and lake, and jumped into the water.
Footage was cut short after the 34-year-old told officers he was going “for a swim”, wading out about 20 metres before finding himself in danger.
Police responded by telling him swimming was not allowed in the lake.
The video ended soon after, “due to the sensitive nature of the remaining portion of the recording”.
Transcript of the remainder of the exchange highlighted Mr Bickings’ companion becoming increasingly distressed. Tempe police said a boat was coming for him.
“He’s drowning right in front of you and you won’t help,” she said.
Mr Bickings did not resurface.
Tempe city authorities described Mr Bickings as “an unsheltered Tempe community member” and called his death “a tragedy”.
The three officers involved in the incident have not been identified.
They have been placed on “non-disciplinary paid administrative leave”, while the Arizona Department of Public Safety and neighbouring police department, Scottsdale Police, to investigate the drowning.
The post ‘Going to drown’: US police investigated after refusing to save man appeared first on The New Daily.