Oklahoma Man Told Police He Couldn’t Breathe Before Dying In Newly Released Bodycam Footage

by : Cameron Frew on : 11 Jun 2020 17:19
Oklahoma Man Told Police He Couldn't Breathe Before Dying In Newly Released Bodycam FootageOklahoma Man Told Police He Couldn't Breathe Before Dying In Newly Released Bodycam FootageKOCO 5 News

Footage of the 2019 arrest of Derrick Ollie Scott, a black man who died after Oklahoma City police knelt on his back, despite Scott telling them he couldn’t breathe, has now been released. 

The recent death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police has sparked a surge in the Black Lives Matter movement, with protests, rallies and petitions gaining momentum all across the world.

In Oklahoma City, campaigners have been lobbying for the police department to release the bodycam footage recorded during the arrest of Derrick Ollie Scott. Their demands have now been met, and the parallels are staggering.


You can watch the footage in KOCO 5 News’s report below. Warning, contains images some may find upsetting: 

On May 20 last year, an unnamed bystander called 911 and told the operator Scott, 42, was ‘pulling out a gun on a guy. He’s got his gun in his hand,’ according to NBC affiliate KFOR.

After a quick chase, three officers can be seen restraining Scott on the ground. ‘I can’t breathe,’ he tells them. ‘I don’t care,’ one officer responds, with another saying: ‘You can breathe just fine.’

I can't breathe Oklahoma Man Arrested By Police 2I can't breathe Oklahoma Man Arrested By Police 2KOCO 5 News

Police did find a gun in his pocket, however Scott’s concern throughout the footage was his medicine. ‘I need my medicine, I need my medicine,’ he says. The bodycam footage shows Scott passing in and out of consciousness, with one officer saying: ‘Stay with me.’ He was soon taken away in an ambulance, where CPR was performed.

Sadly, he later died in hospital, with the cause of death listed as a collapsed lung, Yahoo News reports.

Scott’s mother Vickey told KFOR she couldn’t watch the whole video, explaining: 


You know, when they first tackled him on the foot chase and they looked at him and he said: ‘Don’t hurt me, just don’t hurt me, I can’t breathe,’ and as he was telling them he couldn’t breathe and then the police officer said: ‘I don’t care’… I couldn’t watch anymore.

Vickey ScottVickey ScottKFOR

Scott’s manner of death was classed as ‘undetermined’, while the autopsy said the police response did not result in ‘fatal trauma’. As well as the collapsed lung, the autopsy lists asthma, methamphetamine use and physical restraint as contributing factors.

Scott’s uncle Ronald added: 


The thing that bothered me in the video was how they treated his life. If that is policy and there is a lack of focus on humanity and civility to anyone, then they certainly need to be addressing and changing that policy effective immediately.

According to Captain Larry Withrow, officers on the scene ‘monitored his health throughout this incident and you can hear them narrate on the video that he continued to have a pulse and he continued to be breathing’.

I can't breathe Oklahoma Man Arrested By Police 3I can't breathe Oklahoma Man Arrested By Police 3KOCO 5 News

A subsequent investigation into the incident by the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office cleared the three officers – Jarred Tipton, Ashley Copeland and Jennifer Titus – of misconduct. The police department also said that Scott’s family could have viewed the footage had they requested it sooner.


If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.

Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: News, America, Black Lives Matter, Derrick Ollie Scott, George Floyd, I Can't Breathe, Now, Oklahoma, Police, police brutality, USA


KOCO 5 News and 2 others
  1. KOCO 5 News

    Derrick Ollie Scott heard telling officers 'I can't breathe' shortly before dying in OCPD custody

  2. KFOR

    Family, police react to newly-released video of in-custody death

  3. Yahoo News

    'I can't breathe,' Oklahoma man tells police before dying. 'I don't care,' officer responds.