'He was trying to breathe': Mom of Oklahoma man who died in cop custody finds new footage hard to watch
OKLAHOMA CITY - Derrick Elliott Olie Scott from Black Oklahoma City pleaded for "I can't breathe! Please! Help me! I can't breathe" on May 20, 2019, when three Oklahoma City police officers held his knees and hands, pulled a pistol out of his pocket and held him there for about 13 minutes while he waited for paramedics to arrive.
Scott's requests were shockingly similar to those of George Floyd, whose death by the Minneapolis police triggered nationwide protests.
The 41-year-old Scott was pronounced dead about an hour after he was arrested in an Oklahoma City hospital.
The release of police officers' body cam video of the arrest was one of Black Lives Matter's demands. The Oklahoma City Police Department met on Monday and released the video for the family and the news media.
Derrick Scott's mother, Vickey Scott, checked parts of the arrest videos and was upset with what she saw.
"I think it was one of the most inhumane things I've ever seen," said Vickey Scott. "You didn't do anything for him. You treated him like he was an animal. He tried to catch your breath. He tried to breathe and you ignored him all the time as if he was nothing. You have even treated animals better. " when they treated my son.
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"It is very difficult," she said. "I want every mother to see this ... and imagine that your son has the last so many minutes of his life and he dies and they say he is pretending."
In this image, taken from a body-worn camera video taken by Oklahoma City police officer Ashley Copeland in May 2019, paramedics and policemen carry Derrick Elliot Scott on a stretcher after he was arrested and passed out during the Oklahoma City arrest.
Vickey Scott referred to portions of the video in which one of the officers asked if her son was pretending to be passed out when he was handcuffed to the floor and another officer was still kneeling on his legs.
She said she had to watch the videos again and again because it was too difficult to watch them all at once.
"My heart is just broken. It is broken," she said. "I want officials to be convicted of murdering my son. I want to do something about police officers being more compassionate when people tell them they can't breathe."
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater reviewed the arrest last year and came to a different conclusion about what he saw. Prater sent an email to police chief Wade Gourley last August to free the officers from wrongdoing.
"I didn't see anything inappropriate checking your officers' actions, and there was no evidence of any wrongdoing by your officers," wrote Prater. "They did exactly what they should have done in the circumstances and handled the call very well."
Larry Withrow, Oklahoma City police captain, called a press conference on Tuesday at which he described the arrest.
Withrow said the techniques used to withhold Derrick Scott are in accordance with the instructions from police officers to minimize the risk of physical harm to suspects.
He specifically mentioned that one policeman put her knee over the Derrick Scott's shoulder blades and that another policeman spread the suspect's waist and later slid onto his legs when control was reached.
He said when Derrick Scott complained that he could not breathe and passed out, officials rolled him into a "recovery position" and immediately called for medical help and started monitoring his health.
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Derrick Scott: Oklahoma man died in police custody, video released
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