Oklahoma City police release body cam footage of suspect who said ‘I can’t breathe’ then later died in hospital

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Police have now released the body camera video from an in-custody death that happened last year, which was one of several demands from Black Lives Matter OKC.

“I understand how George Floyd’s mother felt. I understand how the family felt,” Vickey Scott told KFOR. “I couldn’t stand to watch the whole film because I just couldn’t take it.”

Scott is talking about body camera video showing the moments leading up to her son’s death, released by OCPD Monday as part of the list of demands from Black Lives Matter OKC.

It all started with a call to 911.

“He’s pulling out a gun on a guy parked in the parking lot,” the calling party said.

When officers responded and tried to speak with 41-year-old Derrick Ollie Scott, he is seen taking off running and an officer tackling him.

“I can’t breathe,” Scott is heard saying.

“I don’t care,” the officer said.

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

“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.

“He matches the description of our robbery suspect from yesterday,” one officer said to another.

That’s when you see the officers confiscate a gun.

“During this incident, the suspect had stated that he couldn’t breathe, and at one point, appeared to go unconscious according to one of the officers.The officer immediately got on the radio and called for medical assistance and they rolled the subject over into a recovery position, allowing for a better opportunity to breathe,” Capt. Larry Withrow with the OCPD said.

Police say the officers followed all proper protocols.

Scott later died at the hospital.

The medical examiner’s report notes the probable cause of death is a collapsed lung and the contributing factors are listed as asthma and recent use of meth.

D.A. David Prater wrote Chief Wade Gourley this letter clearing the officers of wrongdoing:

Chief 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.

David Prater

“Just to hear today that the three officers or four, or however many it was, that were involved have been cleared? I don’t know what tape they looked at, but the one that I saw clearly makes them responsible,” Tammy Hill, Scott’s aunt, told KFOR.

“You could clearly see on the video that he could not breathe; he told them over a dozen times that he could not breathe,” Vickey Scott said.

Scott’s family claims police waited four days to notify them of his death and that they were denied the opportunity to see the body camera footage last year.

Police deny those claims.

“A family member was notified; it may not be the mother or whoever told you that information. I know the department is reviewing their notification procedures for next of kin,” Withrow said.

The family wants to see the case reviewed again and the officers charged and prosecuted.

However, police say the investigation is complete.

“They did not care. They stood around him while he was trying to catch his breathe, while he was just trying to live,” Vickey said.

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