OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Newly released video of a 2019 Oklahoma arrest shows police officers struggling to subdue a black man who repeatedly stated “I can’t breathe” and died within an hour of being taken into custody, multiple media outlets reported.
The Oklahoma City Police Department released body camera footage this week of the May 20, 2019, takedown and arrest of Derrick Scott, 42, following reports of an individual brandishing a firearm, The New York Times reported.
Capt. Larry Withrow said during a Tuesday news conference that Scott had a loaded gun in his pocket when the arrest was made and that no wrongdoing has been found on the part of the officers involved. Scott can also clearly be seen attempting to flee the arrest at one point, which resulted in his being tackled to the ground.
In the video, however, Scott can be heard telling officers “I can’t breathe” multiple times during the altercation, and at least one officer can be heard responding, “I don’t care.”
Scott’s mother, Vickey Scott, told CNN Thursday that her son had asthma, but the medical examiner’s report probing his death did not mention the condition.
The report, released in August, listed a collapsed right lung as the probable cause of death and cited physical restraint, recent methamphetamine use, heart disease and emphysema as contributing factors, the Times reported.
Withrow said during the news conference that the officers seen straddling Scott in the video were conducting “academy taught” maneuvers and that medical personnel were dispatched as soon as officers realized Scott was in distress.
According to CNN, around the time Scott can no longer be heard on the video one of the female officers said, “He’s acting like he’s unconscious." Later body camera footage shows one of the officers performing CPR on Scott in the ambulance, and he was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
When asked by the Times about the officer who replied “I don’t care” to Scott’s complaints, Withrow said, “During the heat of a conflict like that, certainly that may be something an officer says, just understand the officers are fighting with someone at that point.”
“It’s not uncommon for people when you’re struggling with them, when you’re trying to get them into control, to say, ‘I can’t breathe.’ You hear that frequently,” he added.
According to the Times, the words can also be heard in recordings of the deaths of both George Floyd, who died May 25 after being pinned down by the neck for nearly nine minutes by a Minneapolis police officer, and Eric Garner, who said the phrase 11 times during his 2014 Staten Island, New York, arrest.
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