A pair of police officers laughed and called a 24 year-old suspect a ‘dumb ass’ as they sat and watched him drown. The clip, shot at Tims Lake near Decherd, Tennessee, in the early hours of June 4 shows flailing suspect Johnny Baldwin cry ‘Help me!’ after going into the water.
An unidentified officer with Winchester Police Department could be heard replying: ‘Well then swim – your dumb ass jumped in the river.’ The officer and his sergeant, who has also not been named, continued filming, with Baldwin again heard to beg for help.
Shortly afterwards, the cop who called Baldwin a ‘dumb ass’ could be seen hacking through foliage and telling the suspect he was ‘going to come in and get your ass.’
Shockingly, his colleague – whose bodycam was filming the incident – could be heard laughing while saying ‘No you ain’t,’ before shouting at Baldwin to ‘Get out of the water.’
The camera appears to capture the sound of Baldwin breathing out bubbles as he slipped under the surface, with the first cop saying ‘He’s going under’. His colleague who had earlier laughed again ordered him not to go into the water with Baldwin, saying: ‘He’s going to pull you down.’
Baldwin died shortly afterwards, with his family left distraught by the video footage of his final moments. He was pursued by police over a minor traffic infraction, and jumped in the lake after driving his car down a dead-end lane.
Family spokesman Gina Sims-Johnson told WGN9: ‘That was the most horrific video I’ve ever seen in my life…
‘I was angry, I was tearful. I have watched the life drown out of someone’s eyes and I don’t understand how they could just stand there and do nothing.
‘Because human nature if you have may humanity your first impulse is to help someone. Even your worst enemy you don’t want to see anyone befalling, but they let this man die while they stood there on the bank.’
Baldwin’s family have now called for the officers to be fired and charged over his death.
Family friend Brian Kirk said: ‘Why didn’t they save him? He was an innocent 24 year old man, drowned begging for help three times and the police sat there and laughed and made jokes about it.’
Winchester Police Department Chief Richard Lewis, whose department aided officers from Dercherd, called Baldwin’s drowning an ‘extremely sad situation’ and said his department had ‘caught absolute hell’ over the body cam footage.
Speaking to ABC News, Lewis defended his cops’ behavior, saying they had not been trained in water rescues, and that conditions made it too dangerous to attempt to help Baldwin.
Lewis, who said a rescue department had been called as soon as Baldwin went into the water, added: ‘We are not trained in water rescue — we do not possess the gear to do that.
‘You’ve got to have a flotation device tied off somewhere to the bank where they can rescue you if something happens.
‘That’s the reason we didn’t jump in. If my officer got in there and got tied up with him (and got pulled under), it’s just a bad situation.’
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected]
For more stories like this, check our news page
Source: Read Full Article