Arizona Cops Standby and Watch as Man Calls Out for Help Before Drowning

On May 28th, 34 year old Sean Bickings, drowned in the lake near Elmore Pedestrian Bridge in Tempe, Arizona. Body camera footage of police officers was recently released, where the public can see and hear the officers talking to Bickings, not helping him when Bickings was drowning and yelling for help. According to the New York Post, the officers were “responding to a reported disturbance between a couple…when one of the people jumped into the lake”.

Sean Bickings was the one to jump in the lake. When the officers told the couple they were going to run a background check on them, Sean Bickings climbed the fence and told officers he was going to go for a swim. According to the body cam footage, Bickings said, “I’m gonna go for a swim. I’m free to go, right?” before diving into the water. It can be heard that the officers told him he was not allowed to swim in that lake, but when Bickings swam off anyways, one officer can be heard saying to the other, ““How far do you think he is going to be able to swim?” just before the footage ends. According to News12, the rest of the footage was cut off and released as a transcript. Bickings began struggling in the water, calling out for help from the officers, but officers responded by telling him to swim to a pylon. When Bickings said he couldn’t, an officer responded with, “Okay, I’m not jumping in after you.”. One officer said they should get a boat to help him, but Bickings had already drowned at that point. The 3 officers that responded to the original disturbance call and watched him drown, are now on paid administrative leave while the
investigation continues.

image sources

  • dreamstime_s_2544589: Photo 2544589 © Christophe Testi |