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Tempe police officers allegedly watch a homeless man drown

Posted at 8:25 AM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 22:18:34-04

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Three Tempe police officers are under non-disciplinary administrative paid leave after allegedly not helping a homeless man who drowned in a man-made city lake.

Tempe police have released edited body camera footage from officers of the May 28 incident.

According to a transcript of the footage provided by the city, 34-year-old Sean Bickings told Tempe police he was drowning and begged officers for help.

Police said Bickings apparently jumped into the lake in an attempt to evade police after officials did a background check and found three outstanding warrants.

The transcript of the remaining portion of the video indicates the video cuts off when Bickings starts telling police that he's going to drown, the Arizona Republic reported Monday.

One officer reportedly told Bickings: “I am not jumping in after you."

According to the transcript, a person identified in the document as a witness attempted to jump into the lake to help Bickings, who did not resurface.

A city fire department rescue team recovered Bickings’ body and pronounced him dead.

Tempe officials have asked the Arizona Department of Public Safety to investigate the police response to the drowning.