"I Can't Breathe," A Black Man In Oklahoma Said. "I Don't Care," A Police Officer Replied.
Derrick Scott died last year after repeatedly saying "I can't breathe" while being restrained by three Oklahoma City police officers, according to newly released body camera videos.
"I can't breathe," Derrick Scott repeatedly told the three Oklahoma City police officers who were restraining him during his arrest last year.
"I can't breathe, please," the 41-year-old Black man pleaded as the officers pinned him to the ground with their hands and knees for around 13 minutes, according to newly released body camera footage.
"I don't care," a male officer replied.
"You can breathe just fine," one of the two women officers told him after a few minutes.
Scott, who became unresponsive in police custody, was pronounced dead at the hospital about an hour after his arrest on May 20, 2019.
This body camera footage has been edited for length by BuzzFeed News. It shows the third officer arriving and helping the other two officers restrain Scott.
Earlier this week, the Oklahoma City Police Department released body camera videos of Scott's arrest to comply with one of the demands of the Black Lives Matter Oklahoma group, in the wake of nationwide and global protests against police brutality that were sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed in the custody of Minneapolis police.
In the moments leading up to his death, which was captured on cellphone videos, Floyd repeatedly told the officers, "I can't breathe," as one of them restrained him with a knee to his neck.
The three Oklahoma City police officers involved in Scott's arrest, Jarred Tipton, Ashley Copeland, and Jennifer Titus, were cleared of any criminal wrongdoing last year after a review by the Oklahoma County District Attorney, David Prater.
Prater said there was nothing inappropriate on the part of the officers' actions or any evidence of misconduct by them during Scott's arrest.
"They did exactly what they should have done under the circumstances and handled the call very well," Prater said in an email to police Chief Wade Gourley in 2019.
In a press conference Tuesday, Oklahoma City police Capt. Larry Withrow said the department was not reopening the investigation into the incident, adding "this has come into the spotlight given current events."
Withrow said the two restraint techniques used by the officers, including one officer straddling Scott's back and another officer placing a knee across his shoulder blades, were techniques that were taught in the police academy.
The techniques provided the officers with a "reasonable amount of control" over Scott, while "not restricting air flow and offering the least likelihood of injuring the suspect," Withrow said.
When Scott indicated he could not breathe and at one point "appeared to go unconscious," Withrow said the officers called for medical assistance, rolled him over in a "recovery position," and continued to monitor his health.
"I don't know if there's any more they could have done to monitor the suspect or do everything they could do to ensure his health," Withrow said.
The three officers responded to the scene last year after a 911 caller said there was a Black man brandishing a firearm while arguing with other individuals. When the officers arrived at the scene, the footage showed Scott running away. The officers chased him and pinned him to the ground as Scott began saying, "I can't breathe."
Scott also repeatedly told the officers, "I need my medicine."
This body camera footage has been edited for length by BuzzFeed News. It shows the initial minutes of Scott's arrest.
After handcuffing him, the officers found a loaded handgun in the front pocket of his pants, Withrow said. Scott mentioned that he was on narcotics at some point, according to Withrow.
After the officers rolled Scott over to his side, one of the two women officers said, "He's acting like he's unconscious."
The body camera footage showed that when emergency personnel and the officers attempted to place Scott in a gurney, he became "combative," Withrow said, and was "jumping and kicking at the officers."
Scott became unresponsive after being placed in the ambulance and one of the officers performed CPR on him inside. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
The Oklahoma medical examiner's office listed the manner of Scott's death as "undetermined" and said there was "no fatal trauma."
The autopsy report said he died as a result of a right pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and listed several "significant" contributing factors to his death, including physical restraint, recent methamphetamine use, asthma, emphysema, and heart disease, the Oklahoman reported.
Responding to one of the officers suggesting that Scott was pretending to be unconscious, Withrow told reporters on Tuesday that it was "not uncommon" for suspects to say "I can't breathe" when officers are trying to get them under control.
"You hear that frequently," Withrow said. "If they're still struggling and fighting with you and they're talking with you, it makes you wonder, Are they really having difficulty breathing or are they just trying to get away?" he said.
He also defended the officer saying "I don't care" to Scott's pleas, saying that "during the heat of a conflict like that, certainly that may be something an officer says."
"I think that it was one of the most inhumane things that I have ever seen," Scott's mother, Vickey Scott, told the Oklahoman after watching parts of the footage.
"They did not do anything for him," she said. "They treated him like he was an animal. He was trying to get his breath. He was trying to breathe, and they ignored him the whole time, like he was nothing. They even treat animals better than they treated my son."