clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Derrick Scott told Oklahoma officers “I can’t breathe” before he died

“I don’t care,” one officer can be heard responding in the newly released body camera footage.

Derrick Scott Oklahoma City Police Department

Newly released police body camera footage reveals that another Black man — 42-year-old Derrick Scott — told arresting officers “I can’t breathe” before he later died at a hospital. The footage stems from a 2019 arrest in Oklahoma City and was released this week after pressure from the local Black Lives Matter chapter. During the video, arresting officer Jarred Tipton can be heard responding to Scott’s pleas for air with “I don’t care.”

The fatal arrest occurred on May 20, 2019 in an area south of downtown Oklahoma City. According to a statement from police Capt. Larry Withrow, cops responded to a call about Scott allegedly being involved in an argument and possessing a firearm. During the footage, Scott is seen running away from officers when they ask if he has a weapon. Later, cops tackle him to the ground and remove a handgun from his pocket.

While being restrained, Scott repeatedly tells officers he’s unable to breathe and asks for his medication. Tipton can be heard saying “I don’t care,” while another officer responds, “You can breathe just fine.”

Scott appears to lose consciousness and one officer attempts to give him CPR before paramedics arrive on the scene. Scott was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, where doctors said he died from a collapsed lung.

According to Withrow, the incident was investigated by the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office. However, all officers involved — Tipton, Ashley Copeland and Sgt. Jennifer Titus — were not found guilty of any misconduct.

Furthermore, an autopsy declared that police force had not resulted in Scott’s “fatal trauma” and instead attributed his death to underlying health conditions, including asthma, emphysema and heart disease and recent use of methamphetamine. Scott’s cause of death was recorded by police as “undetermined.”

Withrow later attempted to justify Tipton’s comments while speaking with NBC affiliate KFOR. He claimed the comments were made in the “heat of a conflict.”

“Certainly that may be something an officer says,” he told the news station. “Just understand — the officers are fighting with someone at that point.”

Scott’s relatives and the local Black Lives Matter chapter have since spoken out against the officers’ treatment and Scott’s death.

Rev. T. Sheri Dickerson of Black Lives Matter told KFOR “There is a lack of a focus on humanity and civility.”

Scott’s uncle — Ronald — told the station he was “bothered by how they treated [Scott’s] life.”

The newly released footage accounts for yet another Black man who told officers he was unable to breathe before dying in their custody. Last month, George Floyd told Minneapolis officers “I can’t breathe,” while Derek Chauvin kneeled down on his neck, before he died at a hospital. Back in 2014, Eric Garner said the same thing before he was killed by a New York officer’s chokehold.

Sign up for the newsletter Join the revolution.

Get REVOLT updates weekly so you don’t miss a thing.