As Americans are swiftly learning in the wake of the horrific massacre in Uvalde, Texas, when police declined to enter the school to rescue the children, law enforcement has no legal obligation to protect individuals. This assumption has been used to defend police officers accused of cowardice since it has been firmly established by decades of Supreme Court precedent.
Uvalde, Parkland, and the following instance out of Tempe demonstrate that a significant number of police officers are unwilling to put themselves in harm's path to do good and save lives.
Police responded to a disturbance between 34-year-old Sean Bickings and his wife, as reported by the Tempe municipal government. According to the police, when they came, they talked with Bickings and his buddy, who cooperated well and denied any violent altercation. None of the individuals was held for a violation.
While police checked the couple's identities against a database for outstanding warrants, Bickings "decided to carefully climb over a 4-foot metal fence and into the water" at Tempe Town Lake, according to a municipal statement. The police reminded Bickings that swimming in the lake was prohibited, but he was not swimming; rather, he was drowning.
As Bickings pleaded for assistance, he retreated as cops saw him from a safe distance. Eventually, he would submerge and never emerge. His corpse was subsequently discovered by the Dive and Rescue crew of Tempe Fire.
In the city's official statement, City Manager Andrew Ching and Police Chief Jeff Glover described the death of Bickings as a tragedy. However, this was not the case. It was a tragic reminder that the police are not required by law to safeguard life.
Officer 1 advised Bickings not to enter the lake, according to a transcript of discussions given by the Tempe Police Department and reported by FOX29.
Bickings, identified in the transcript as 'victim,' said, "I'm drowning."
Officer 2 responded, "Return to the pylon."
"I can't. Bickings said, "I cannot (inaudible)."
Officer 1 said, "Okay, I'm not going to follow you in"
Instead of pursuing Bickings, the police threatened to imprison Bickings's wife due to her agitation.
"I'll throw you in my vehicle if you don't calm down," the officer said.
"I'm so heartbroken because he's drowning right in front of me and you won't help," she said.
Bicking's wife implored the authorities for assistance for many more minutes until he remained below and never resurfaced.
According to the city's statement, Tempe has requested the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Scottsdale Police to investigate the Tempe Police Department's reaction to the drowning.
The three Tempe police officers who responded to the call and saw the drowning have been put on paid administrative leave until the outcome of the investigations, as is standard procedure for severe situations
It's fairly unusual for police to see someone drowning and refuse to intervene. Johnny "JJ" Baldwin, age 24 in Franklin County, Tennessee, met with the same death, as reported.
According to the police, they started chasing Baldwin after claiming he committed a minor traffic offence. Baldwin ran till he fell in Tims Ford Boiling Fork Creek when he was forced to halt.
The cops taunted Baldwin as he drowned from a distance of 10 feet as breathed his dying breaths.
"Your idiotic a** leapt into the river" would be the last words Baldwin would ever hear.