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Videos of Black men dying or being beaten in custody surface in Oklahoma, Louisiana

Paramedics and police officers carry Derrick Elliot Scott.
In this image made from a May 2019 video, paramedics and police officers carry Derrick Elliot Scott onto a stretcher after he was arrested and went in and out of consciousness in Oklahoma City.
(Oklahoma City Police Department via Associated Press)

Videos of Black men dying or being beaten in police custody have surfaced in Oklahoma and Louisiana, including one of a man who told officers: “I can’t breathe.”

That footage, from a May 2019 arrest in Oklahoma City, was eerily similar to video showing George Floyd’s death last month in Minneapolis police custody, which has ignited massive peaceful protests and scattered violence in cities across the U.S. Floyd, a Black man who was unarmed and handcuffed, pleaded for air as a white officer pressed a knee on his neck for several minutes.

In Louisiana, newly uncovered video appears to show police officers repeatedly punching and Tasing a Black man they were arresting in April. The man died the following day.

The Oklahoma City footage, recorded by body-worn cameras, was released by local police late Monday following a demand from the city’s Black Lives Matter group and requests from several media outlets, said Oklahoma City Police Capt. Larry Withrow.

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In the videos, 42-year-old Derrick Elliot Scott, also known as Derrick Ollie, can be heard moaning and telling officers he couldn’t breathe as at least one officer straddled him in an attempt to handcuff him. After he’s cuffed, Scott appears to go in and out of consciousness.

Paramedics are called, and Scott is placed on a gurney and transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

As George Floyd’s family gathered for his funeral in Houston, where he grew up, they vowed to continue the movement sparked by his death.

Before the videos were released publicly, they were shown to Scott’s family.

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“It was very troubling to watch,” said Scott’s son, Derrick Ollie. “They stood by and did nothing and acted as if he was OK, when he told them plenty of times that he couldn’t breathe. They’re laughing and joking like something is funny, when this man was struggling for his life.”

Scott, who was armed with a handgun, matched the description of a suspect who had brandished a firearm, according to police. As officers approached him, the video showed Scott running away before one officer tackled him. The officers then struggled to handcuff as Scott complained he couldn’t breathe.

An autopsy report listed the probable cause of death as a collapsed lung and noted several conditions that likely contributed to his death, including physical restraint, recent methamphetamine use, asthma, emphysema and heart disease.

Video and documents show that sheriff’s deputies repeatedly used a stun gun on a black man in Austin, Texas, as he pleaded that he couldn’t breathe.

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Oklahoma County Dist. Atty. David Prater cleared all of the officers involved last year after receiving a copy of the autopsy report.

“This guy runs from the police. He’s got a 90% occluded major artery in his heart,” Prater told the Associated Press. “I mean, he’s just a perfect candidate to die when you’ve got meth in your system and those kinds of physical ailments and then you fight with police. They [the officers] didn’t do anything wrong at all.”

The newly uncovered video in Louisiana shows an April 5 altercation between Tommie Dale McGlothen, 44, and four police officers in the northern city of Shreveport. The footage appears to show police officers repeatedly punching and using a Taser on McGlothen, who died April 6 at a local hospital, according to the coroner.

In the 4½-minute video, which local TV station KSLA shot off of the cellphone of a person who the station said witnessed the confrontation, officers can be seen wrestling with a man on the ground with at least one officer punching him repeatedly and another appearing to hit him with a baton. A voice can be heard saying that the officers were using a Taser on the man. The man can be seen kicking at police officers.

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At one point, police get the man to his feet with his hands appearing to be handcuffed behind him and he immediately falls or is pushed backward to the ground. After getting him up again, they then walk him over to the police vehicle, push him against it, and his head hits the hood.

According to Dr. Todd Thoma, the Caddo Parish coroner, police arrived at a Shreveport home April 5 after McGlothen blocked a driveway and followed a homeowner into his house. Police reported that McGlothen was “mumbling incoherently” and “exhibiting signs of paranoia and emotional disturbance,” the coroner said in a news release Tuesday.

“Police officers used Tasers, mace and nightsticks to control McGlothen, who was agitated and combative and had fought with a homeowner,” according to the coroner.

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According to Thoma, McGlothen died of “excited delirium,” but his death possibly could have been prevented and it should have been obvious “that he needed medical care.” The coroner said McGlothen was left in the back of a police vehicle for 48 minutes before it was discovered that he was unresponsive and not breathing.

“He was predominantly unsupervised during this entire period. After a violent confrontation with psychotic behavior, and being Tased several times, a more thorough evaluation ... would have been indicated,” the coroner said.

“Although autopsy showed that Mr. McGlothen suffered multiple blunt force injuries from both his confrontation with police and the citizens earlier in the day and that evening, no injuries were life-threatening or could be considered serious,” Thoma said. “Mr. McGlothen had underlying heart disease and clearly was suffering from excited delirium. The combination of these factors caused his death.”

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Shreveport’s police chief, Ben Raymond, said in a news release Monday that the four officers involved had been placed on leave pending the results of an investigation, saying that “this is a matter of great concern to me.”

Raymond said the police had conducted a thorough investigation into the incident and had sent the results to the district attorney’s office. They also said state police are reviewing the case.

But the Caddo Parish district attorney seemed to call into question the quality of the police’s investigation in a June 2 press release. In it, James E. Stewart Sr. called for the public’s help in investigating two citizens who allegedly died while in police custody: McGlothen and Wavey Austin, who died April 19.

“Both allegedly died while in the custody and/or control of the Shreveport Police,” the district attorney said. “Upon our initial review of the files, we have found that they are missing reports, statements, downloads and other vital information that is essential to conduct a thorough and complete review.”

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Stewart said the Police Department was being notified as to what more was needed, and he asked for members of the public to bring forward any video or eyewitness accounts of the incidents.


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