Amid nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism, sparked by the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, many are looking to hold their local police departments accountable.
Last week, Black Lives Matter OKC issued a list of demands, in an attempt to uncover the local department’s history of excessive force, police brutality, and misconduct. This week, the Oklahoma City Police Department met one of the demands and released footage of a 2019 arrest that resulted in a Black man’s death.
The incident occurred on May 20, 2019, after a bystander called 911 to report a man had pulled a gun on someone in a parking lot. Upon arrival, bodycam footage shows officer Jarred Tipton asking the victim, Derrick Ollie Scott if he was armed. When Scott says no, Tipton asks him to turn around.
Scott then can be seen running away, as Tipton and a female officer gives chase. Tipton then tackles Scott to the ground and shout demands as they try to detain him.
During the arrest, Scott can be heard, saying, “I can’t breathe,” to which Tipton responds, “I don’t care.” By the time a third officer arrives, Scott appears unresponsive, but an officer can be seen pulling a gun from his pocket.
Officers can also be heard claiming Scott was “fine,” alleging that the victim was pretending to be unconscious.
Eventually, officials call an ambulance to the scene, after Scott appeared to be in medical distress. Upon arrival, Scott appears to slip in and out of consciousness, at one point, asking for his medicine, which appeared to be an inhaler.
After being loaded into the ambulance, Scott became unresponsive, according to police. One officer performed CPR, but Scott was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
All three officers, Tipton, Ashley Copeland, and Jennifer Titus, were cleared of any wrongdoing last year, as officials claimed they were simply following department policy.
“I don’t know that there’s any more that they could have done to monitor the suspect or do everything they could to ensure his health,” Oklahoma City Police Department Captain said, adding that Tipton’s “I don’t care” comment was just “the heat of a conflict like that.”
“Certainly that may be something any officer said,” Larry Withrow said. “Just understand the officers are fighting with someone at that point.”
“If that is policy and there is a lack of focus on humanity and civility to anyone, then they certainly need to be addressing and changing that policy effective immediately,” Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson, a leader with Black Lives Matter OKC, told KFOR, in response.