Chilling bodycam footage has emerged showing police officers allegedly ignoring a man’s pleas for help after he got into a lake and told officers that he’s drowning.
Tempe Police were called to the Elmore Pedestrian Bridge in Tempe, Arizona, after receiving a report of a disturbance between a couple.
Sean Bickings, 34, and his wife, explained that no physical fight had taken place.
When the officers asked for their names to run for a background check for any outstanding warrants for arrests, the man said he is “going for a swim”.
In the bodycam footage released by the police, Mr Bickings says: “I’m gonna go for a swim. I’m free to go right?”
He climbs over a fence and sits on the edge of water as one officer tells him that he’s “not allowed to swim in the lake”.
The officers stay by the fence and watch as Mr Bickings gets into the water and swims further out.
“How far do you think he is going to be able to swim?” they said at the end of the clip.
Local authorities did not release the entire video as they said the drowning was too sensitive, but a transcript of the footage revealed the officer’s conversation when the incident happened.
Mr Bickings told the officers: “I’m drowning.”
“Come back over to the pylon,” one officer said, to which, Mr Bickings said: “I can’t. I can’t.”
A second officer said: “Okay, I’m not jumping in after you.”
Mr Bickings then said: “Please help me. Please, please, please. I can’t touch. Oh God, please help me. Help me.”
“I’m just distraught because he’s drowning right in front of you and you won’t help,” his wife told officers.
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It’s not clear how long Mr Bickings was left to struggle in the water before he went under the water surface and drowned.
According to reports, one officer tried to get a boat to help Mr Bickings but it was too late.
The body was recovered from the lake about six hours later.
The officers on the scene have been placed on paid administrative leave while an investigation is ongoing.