Before the Arizona Police officers drowned in the lake, a person begging them for help filmed the Chilling Bodycam.
Footage and transcript of the May 28 incident, obtained through 12 News, reveals an official telling Sean Pickings “I did not jump after you” just minutes before he died in the waters of Tempe Town Lake.
Authorities were called to the Elmore Pedestrian Bridge in Tempe after 5 a.m. following a complaint about a disturbance between a couple.
When they arrived at the scene, Mr Pickings, 34, and his unnamed wife, told authorities no physical fight had taken place.
Authorities told the couple they were directing their names through a database to verify any pending warrants for their arrest.
At the time, Mr Pickings’ bodyguard footage showed police telling police he was going “swimming”.
“I’m going to swim. Am I free to go right? ” Says Mr. Pickings.
The 34-year-old climbed a metal fence and sat on the edge of the water.
Officials are watching from the edge of the water and say they cannot swim in the lake.
“You are not allowed to swim in the lake,” one of the officers tells him.
Mr. Pickings jumps into the water below the bridge and begins to swim.
The officers made no move to retrieve him from the water, and they were watching as they discussed “how far” he thought he could swim.
The bodyguard released only footage of the specific moment Mr Pickings drowned.
Authorities said the rest of the footage was “sensitive”, so a transcript written part of the bodycam was released.
In the transcript, the 34-year-old begs the authorities to “help me” and repeatedly says “I’m going to drown”.
“If so, what’s your plan now?” One of the officers asks Mr. Pickings.
According to the transcript, “I’m going to drown,” he replied.
The same officer dismisses his concerns by saying “no, you don’t”.
Another officer urges him to “at least go to the pole and catch up.”
“I’m drowning,” Mr Pickings replies.
The officer again tells him to “come back to the temple”.
The 34-year-old replied, “I can not. I can’t ”, the officer refuses to go into the water to help him.
“Well, I’m not jumping on your back,” the officer says.
Mr Pickings and his wife beg the authorities to do something to save him from drowning.
“Please help me. Please, please, please, ”Mr. Pickings pleads.
His wife tells the officers, “He drowned in front of you, you will not help.”
It is not clear how long Mr. Pickings struggled in the water before disappearing beneath the surface and drowning.
Authorities said at least one officer tried to get the boat to help the 34-year-old.
Six hours later his body was recovered from the lake.
All three officers at the scene are on paid administrative leave while the investigation continues.
After the video caught national attention on Monday, a police association defended the officers’ actions, saying they did not have the evidence to carry out the rescue operation.
“Such a high-risk rescue attempt could easily result in the death of the person and officer in the water and be pulled down by the fighting adult,” said representatives from the Tempe Officers Association.
“Officers are trained to call the fire department or get a Tempe police boat. That is what the authorities did here.
The police association further said that the officers were not undergoing water rescue training and did not have the equipment to help the drowning people.
However, the union added that “the grief of the incident reflects the grief of our community” and added that “no one wants the incident to end as it did.”