An Oklahoma City police officer responded “I don’t care” when a black man, who later died in the hospital, told him he couldn’t breathe, newly released body camera footage of a 2019 incident shows.
The May 20, 2019, footage depicts Derrick Scott repeatedly asking for medication and saying he is unable to breathe while three officers restrain him. One officer, Jarred Tipton, responds “I don’t care.” A second officer says “You can breathe just fine” later in the recording. Scott was pronounced dead at a local hospital shortly after the arrest, with an autopsy report obtained by NBC News listing a collapsed lung as his cause of death.
Oklahoma City Police Capt. Larry Withrow said in a statement that officers were called to the scene over reports of a black man brandishing a gun. In the footage, Scott runs from officers after Tipton asks if he is armed. Another officer removes a handgun from Scott’s pocket shortly after police tackle him.
The footage also depicts an officer attempting CPR ahead of paramedics’ arrival.
The autopsy report said the police restraint did not cause “fatal trauma” and said asthma, emphysema, heart disease, physical restraint and drug use all contributed to Scott's death. Withrow noted that all three officers were cleared by an investigation, saying Tipton’s comments were only made in “the heat of a conflict.”
Scott’s uncle, Ronald Scott, told an Oklahoma-area NBC affiliate that regardless, he was “bothered by how they treated his life.”
“There is a lack of a focus on humanity and civility,” Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson of Black Lives Matter OKC said.
The release of the footage was part of a list of demands from the Oklahoma City Black Lives Matter chapter as the city, like nearly every other U.S. city, saw widespread demonstrations after George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis May 25.
Floyd also said “I can’t breathe” in the footage of his arrest, as did another black man, Eric Garner, whose death on Staten Island in 2014 galvanized the movement.