“I can’t breathe,” Oklahoma City police release bodycam video of 2019 in-custody death

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Officials have released body camera footage from a 2019 in-custody death in response to one of several demands from Black Lives Matter OKC. 

On Monday, the Oklahoma City Police Department released the body camera footage of the in-custody death of Derrick Scott. 

Courtesy: Scott family

In May of 2019, investigators say they received a call about a man with a gun arguing with people along S.E. 44th St.

When police arrived on the scene, they approached Scott and asked him if he had any weapons and to turn around. At that point, Scott took off running.

Officers tackled Scott and put him in handcuffs as he said he couldn’t breathe.

“I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, ma’am. I can’t breathe,” Scott is heard saying on the video. 

 ‘Give me your hands!’ the officer said. 

 “I can’t breathe,” Scott said again. 

“I don’t care,” the officer said. “Stop resisting now.” 

“I need my medicine. I need my medicine,” Scott said. 

In the video, you can see an inhaler nearby.

“Hey, where’s your gun?” an officer said. 

“He matches the description of our robbery suspect yesterday,” one of the officers is heard saying. 

“You can breathe just fine. What’s your name, man? What’s your name?” an officer said. 

Scott was taken to a nearby hospital, where he later died. 

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater sent KFOR a letter he sent to Oklahoma City Police Chief Wade Gourley.

“Inspector Ken Whitebird presented this investigation to me months ago.  The incident occurred on May 20, 2019.  Your incident number is: 19-040140.  The officers and suspect involved are noted in the subject line of this message.

We have been waiting for the ME’s report on this incident for over two months.  It was finally released.  After reviewing the investigation of the incident, the only question was cause of death.  In reviewing the actions of your officers I saw nothing inappropriate; nor was there any evidence of misconduct by your officers.  They did exactly what they should have done under the circumstances and handled the call very well.

The ME found no fatal trauma.  Though the manner of death is unknown, the pneumothorax that is noted as the probable cause of death, is very unlikely to have been caused by the actions of your officers.  Their use of force to take the suspect into custody was minimal.  The suspect had Methamphetamine in his system that is noted, among multiple pre-existing health conditions, as a significant contribution to the suspect’s death.

No further action by my office is warranted.  Your officers are cleared of any wrongdoing.  If you have any questions please call.

Letter from District Attorney David Prater

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