Three officers in Arizona are currently being investigated by their own brethren from the Scottsdale police and the Department of Public Safety, following allegations that they stood by and watched a man drown to death. The incident in question took place in the wee hours of the morning, somewhere within close proximity to the Elmore Pedestrian Bridge in Tempe. The aforementioned police officers arrived on the scene in response to a call that a couple had caused a disturbance in the area. When the police officers began to question Sean Bickings (34) and his female companion about the nature of their alleged public dispute, the former made his way towards a gate that restricted the public from a massive reservoir and declared that he was going to take a dip in the water.
“I’m gonna go for a swim,” Bickings said in the video. “I’m free to go, right?”
The cops responded by telling Bickings that he was not allowed to go swimming in the lake, but much to their chagrin, he ignored their commands and swam out into the middle of the lake.
All of this was depicted on the officer’s body cam, but what happened after that remains unclear, because the Scottsdale Police Department has yet to release the footage, claiming that it is too sensitive for the public to view. What witnesses do seem to agree on is the fact that Bickings drowned in the water, shortly after he entered the lake and the police officers who tried to talk him out of the act did not attempt to save him once the situation became dire. The transcript furthers that notion.
“I’m drowning,” Bickings said.
“Come back over to the pylon,” one officer responded.
“I can’t. I can’t,” Bickings exclaimed.
“Okay, I’m not jumping in after you,” the other officer said.
The transcript continues as Bickings repeatedly pleads for someone to help him. To that, his partner, who was standing ashore, to the officers, “I’m just distraught because he’s drowning right in front of you, and you won’t help.”
As the sad ordeal ran its course, the police officers on hand continued to give their play-by-play analysis of the drowning, while neglecting to try to bring Bickings to shore or offer any instructions that could help save his life. In fact, it’s being reported that one of the officers commented on the amount of time that he had gone underwater, once he disappeared from their sight, declaring that it was nearly 30 seconds. Bickings died shortly thereafter, although it is not known exactly when he passed. His body was recovered by Tempe’s fire and rescue team several hours later around 11:20 am.
According to the local authorities, Bickings entered the lake, in hopes of swimming away and evading the various warrants that had been previously issued for his arr’est.