Arizona police officers on leave after watching man drown in lake | USA TODAY

Arizona police officers on leave after watching man drown in lake | USA TODAY 1

90 comments

  1. i don’t see what they could’ve done. you people watch too many movies. you can’t just swim out and grab someone and bring them to shore. that guy is big and probably would’ve resisted or struggled which would drown the officer too.

    1. Carry a floatation device in the boot of your car, especially if you patrol this area a lot.

    2. Uh, most cop cars carry ropes and Lake Tempe is a popular public attraction –I’m sure they have flotation devices along the shoreline.

  2. I love how the article implies guilt when it’s clear that the situation was entirely different.

    1. @S Kage you said that in order to be in law enforcement in Arizona you had to be trained in water rescue and a good swimmer as a requirement. Can you name a couple of cities that include swimming as a requirement because I’m checking the government websites for Arizona State Police, Phoenix Police Department, and Tempe Police Department and can’t find any corroborating information. Can you provide a link to this information if you don’t mind….

    2. @S Kage so did it ever occur to you that this man could potentially drown the cop or the cop could potentially end up drowning in general to try and save this man. The guy jumped into a River to evade police. This is no one’s fault but that guy that decided to jump in and try to swim the length of a bridge to the other side of a river. If that guy drowned then what makes you think that a cop would survive trying to go the same distance while dragging a body with him?

    3. @S Kage You didnt answer the question: When is someone responsible for their own actions? When do you stop blaming others? Why do you continue with distractions and side step questions?

  3. Even as a cop critic, I have to admit the cops are not totally wrong on this one. Sure they could have taken off their gear and jumped in after him, but they’d then be risking their own life too. And buddy literally made a choice to get in that water and try to evade his warrants. Just another bad choice on top of his previous bad choices.

    1. Alright but the existence of police boats exist for this very reason, he shouldn’t have been left to leave, even the officer knew what fate he was more than likely condemned to when he said “how far” not “will he make it”

    2. @bearjew540 it isn’t necessary to pile up tragedy. They all would’ve drown. Nothing noble about that.

    3. You shed your gun belt and weapon, 8 lbs, boots, shirt, ok you are trying to swim in long legged pants / trousers ? That’s not for the untrained. Cop’s are not usually qualified as lifeguards, there is a way to approach a drowning person, to hopefully grasp them without them grasping you. Incidents are replete where the panicked person has gone into a hyper panicked state and has put a death grip on the rescuer and BOTH go down.
      What if that person is wanted for murder in another state unknown to YOU, and they are mentally ill ..and he’s unsheathed a knife just below the surface, the next thing you know, you cantch that blade in your stomach. You’ve got serious problems my friend.
      I can’t fault them. NO this isn’t pretty to see, but even in FL first responders are not authorized to go into high water rescue, unless they have special training, equipment and are authorized, when people were warned to evacuate by authorities well in advance. No that’s not exactly the same conditions here. But there is a limit to what they must or morally should do. Now when you’re talking about situations re on dry land, hostages, school active shoter involved. Now you must do everything you can to quickly neutralize the hostage taker.. and limit his time to do harm..

  4. Prosecutors considered trying the officers, but they knew the case wouldn’t hold water. 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

  5. Man chose his fate but blame the cops(in this case). No way that will continue to have a negative effect on the standard of officers on patrol.

    1. As a former lifeguard I gotta pitch in. Unless your trained to do it it’d hard to save someone from drowning. The reason for this is drowning people panic even when your trying to pull them out and will actively pull you down with them. This is made harder in a open body of water and by the fact that the guy is criminal who is worried about more things than drowning. Also we don’t even know if the officers can swim. I know guys in the navy who can’t swim or are weak swimmers. I could imagine the officers didn’t know how to swim.

    2. Eh. Cops do that to themselves. It is not hard to be negative on them. You probably grew up in a suburban neighborhood

    3. @Appropriate-ChannelName I could’ve sworn that you’re required to take a swim test when you join the Navy…?

  6. For the life of me, I have no idea why the officers would be on administrative leave. The police officers told him not to get in the water. He gets into the water anyway to avoid arrest and drowns. Assuming the officers were not strong swimmers themselves, what good would it have been to have multiple people drowned because one person was trying to avoid taking responsibility for criminal activity?

    1. They are in trouble because they did nothing, not even calling back up, which cops have scuba gear and stuff, some cops are trained to deal with this, and the cops did nothing, what if the situation was different and the cops just seen an innocent person drowning? You would think they would call someone to rescue him.

    2. @Donity
      Exactly, drowning people are widely known to inadvertently drown their rescuers as they climb on top of them. That’s why lifeguards have rescue buoys.

    3. @Greg Campbell
      Maybe cops should just carry inflatable jet boats in their trunks too! 🤦‍♂️
      If anything, the lake should have life preservers stationed around for emergencies like pools need to have.

  7. When I was very young, I took lifeguard training at Santa Cruz CA beach. Jumping in freezing cold water was quite a shock but we knew how to knock out struggling people drowning so we could tow them to shore. The worst is Lake Tahoe because of the freezing water and the thin air. Don’t try swimming there without a life preserver

    1. @UKmedicFRCS with his luck, the guy he’s tryna “save”/knock out is a pro boxer🤣🤣🤣

    2. @Hyrum Bliss
      Just to add to the conversation, Tempe Town Lakes water temperature is estimated to be 85-87F today. He probably tired out or was fighting the current from the dams turbines.

  8. As a former lifeguard I gotta pitch in. Unless your trained to do it it’d hard to save someone from drowning. The reason for this is drowning people panic even when your trying to pull them out and will actively pull you down with them. This is made harder in a open body of water and by the fact that the guy is criminal who is worried about more things than drowning. Also we don’t even know if the officers can swim. I know guys in the navy who can’t swim or are weak swimmers. I could imagine the officers didn’t know how to swim. Shame on this article for playing it fast and loose with the facts abd trying to demonize anybody before the facts are comepltly known.

    1. Fast and loose? You see with your own eyes while the guy is in the water, the cop is leaning on the railing, with (like another poster said) “no sense of urgency”….. there’s no radio call, let’s get a rope 🪢, throw him a life preserver 🛟, DO SOMETHING!!!

    2. @UKmedicFRCS I’m not quite following what you’re saying… What branch makes you complete a swim test prior to enlistment? And who lied to you telling you that swimming is as important as push ups and running a mile in the US Navy? 🤣Maybe you were being sarcastic? It’s hard to tell in text but idk where you’re getting your information from if you’re being serious because it’s not true. I know you’re not from the US but I can promise you, there’s no crazy swim test you must pass prior to enlisting. Only in boot camp do you have to take a test where it’s literally treading water and floating, not for a long period even… That’s it. As some other military personnel have commented, that’s the only test for swimming in the Navy then you don’t ever have to go near water ever again if you so choose, unless you become a SEAL,that’s an entirely different training needed. Some people I’m sure pass even without officially “passing”, as I was offered to get “passed” in another branch of the military for a dirty drug test and they didn’t even care so I’m pretty sure they let people squeak by sometimes, esp. on little things that don’t matter much, like this swimming test in the Navy too. My girl is a terrible swimmer and passed so 🤣🤣🤣yeah

    3. @Frances McStay Do you need to be a lifeguard to use a rope or tether or have special training to use a life preserver? Can they not remove all their equipment? It dosent take seconds to drown it takes minutes the guy pleaded twice and they just sat there. And why are you assuming they cant swim maybe they can does that make it less or more wrong.

      Lets have a thought experiment if this was a loved one of yours that drowned while cops just watched would keep that same energy? Just “oh well they were doing something stupid and nothing couldve been done”?

    4. @Drexl Spivey I actually said this in a post… Again we only see it from the outside unless you’re there it’s to easy to criticize and say that you have a better way of doing things. Hopefully when you are able to save someone you don’t freeze up or second guess… With all the knowledge and intuition you have it should be no problem at all and we can all criticize you from our couches

  9. Cops told the dude if you jump in we aren’t swimming after you. The dude jumped anyways so it was his choice.

    1. A fetus doesn’t enter dangerous environmental conditions to evade rescue attempts on account of multiple warrants for arrest. But on the flip side, I think even after the child is born you should give up to two years to decide whether or not to kill it.

    2. @Dustin Sindledecker I am. But I also subscribe to the idea of fetus has no choice. This dude did after many warning. Does it suck? Yes a life was lost but people got to remember. There is conquences to actions. Meaning if you jump off a bridge after being told not to and won’t be able to be saved. Then hey that’s on him. The fetus has no choice but, the two parents do. Take responsibility. Who am I kidding people can’t even hold on to receipts.

  10. The most crucial piece of information not being made widely known about this story is that this is in Tempe Town Lake. A man made, artificial lake that has a dam system with an extremely powerful pump system that can induce enormously strong currents near the dam. If you have a basic understanding of this, you can understand why jumping in to the lake and getting sucked in to a turbine to rescue someone shouldn’t be an expectation for anyone to do.

    1. @T. W.
      This guy wasn’t an innocent victim who accidentally fell into the water. If a building is burning, the people in there are typically people who went into the building before it caught fire. They weren’t idiots who willingly ran into the fire for funsies. Play stupid games, you win stupid prizes. Police officers should not risk their lives trying to save people who ignored their commands and put themselves at risk. They SHOULD risk their lives for people who are in danger not of their own volition.

    2. @GetMeThere1 DO YOU REALLY THINK THE FIRE DEPT COULD OF GOT THERE ON TIME? BE REALISTIC HERE.

    3. @Damond Chavis Spectators is a good description. The attitude wasn’t “this guy is putting himself in extreme danger”. It seemed more “let’s see what happens”. If he were on a building threatening to jump I wouldn’t want any of them to respond. Stop asking what they should have done after he jumped and maybe ask what they did to prevent it. Or should have done.

    4. @Charles Rezac if you tell me you’re going to grab a pot with your bare hands off the stove with food cooking in it and I tell you don’t do that or I tell you I don’t suggest doing that, and you choose to do it any way, that’s your own fault if you get 2nd degree burns. I told you not to do it. You’re a grown up, you can do what you want. You don’t have to listen to me. I also do not have to help you. Just because you do something stupid doesn’t mean you’re mentally ill. You fucked up, you pay the consequences. It’s as simple as that.

    5. @T. W. The would be a fireman’s job to go into burning building. They would have the fire proof clothing.

  11. I watched that complex get built. There’s not really any easy way to get back out of the water from where he entered. Current pulls away from exit. So, a swimmer there is trapped. Entering the water under pretext that you could rescue another person also would trap rescuer. Boats are far away and can’t easily get past floating barrier between rental pier and dam spillway.

    Were I on the bridge above the swimmer, I’d attempt to get them to perch on the edge of the spillway until assistance could be arranged. Going into the water wouldn’t help even if the swimmer wasn’t trying to evade potential rescue attempts. Perhaps buoys spaced closer to the dam edge could provide future swimmers something to hold onto for the thirty minutes or so I’d estimate it would take to get a rescue boat over there? But this hasn’t happened often. So it’s likely that safety resources would be better placed elsewhere.

    1. If entering the water is a death trap, and they knew that, then maybe they should have made that clear to the man instead of calmly watching him enter into a death trap.

    2. They did what you said but he went out like 50 yards and refused to get to the area you described

    3. “… and they knew that” – you make it sound like it’s a hidden secret. Just look at the that river, any grown adult should know that’s not your local YMCA pool.

    4. Try to throw it any distance, see how far you get. But yes good idea if they have one. But unless you have a good throwing arm. SAD but that’s the result of poor life decisions.

  12. Yes the officer should have jumped in with body armor and all his gear… Putting his own safety at risk…. I get it, in all seriousness there are ways that they could have helped like tossing a rope in or a life jacket if they had one but don’t expect someone who is not trained to swim, and save a person in the water.

    1. Maybe they should’ve thrown him their body armor to see if worked like a life jacket too. You never know until you try. 😝

  13. It’s called consequences for stupid behavior. The police told him many times not to jump in but as usual the guy didn’t listen. Did anyone else in the area volunteer to jump in. Maybe his wife or something. It’s like people who threaten law enforcement and cry about the consequences or don’t live through them. It’s not the authorities job to save us from stupidity

    1. The cops have scuba gear and people trained for water rescue, these cops should have called for back up and a rescue team as their procedures say they should have, but they did nothing, and didn’t follow procedures.

  14. I didn’t realize the police were required to risk drowning to save someone who was trying to drown.

    1. One time I jumped from a skyscraper and a cop jumped to save me. He caught me midair and we both hit the ground and died. I’ll always be thankful for him risking his life like that.

    2. @Ken Bob
      Uh, if this pedestrian area had flotation devices, surely they would’ve used one. And, no, they don’t have ropes in the cars, but they do have inflatable jet boats with a .50 caliber machine gun to catch pirates. I don’t know why they didn’t use one to rescue him.

  15. The dude literally says I’m gonna go for a swim. That’s okay right and jumps in willingly. He should have known his own limits. Stupid people do stupid things win stupid prizes.

    1. @Careful! I lick windows its very clearly angled into the lake. i’m seeing it in the video…

    2. @Careful! I lick windows again, its a polices officer’s duty to protect the public, and yes, that includes when they do stupid things. It is literally in the oath they take. If they dont want to do that, dont become a cop. I stand by that this was a blatant and disgusting disregard for life.

    3. @S. Murz this was a lose lose… The man was not saveable. How many people in the world do you think can drag a 200+lb man through current??? Have you ever swam in current? Besides, I can’t find the full video just this snippet clickbait headline. My judgement might change after that.

    4. @Careful! I lick windows I dont see much surface current. I grew up in northeastern wisconsin. My summers were filled with swimming in currents and undertow. Yes, it can be very dangerous, but by no means does that mean we let people die… If this happened to be a random person who went in the water, willingly, we let them die? NO. cops arrive and either jump in themselves, or make damn sure appropriate and capable help is on the way. The “lose-lose” only exists if we disregard the cops NOT calling for help. They knowingly let this man die and did not take any steps to stop it, and I’m shocked at how many people think this is fine because “uhhh maybe the cops weren’t good swimmers?” These are the people we expect to protect us and our families, and I am unwilling to hold them to such a disgustingly low standard.

  16. As a cop your always put on leave when there is an active ongoing investigation.
    I’m not making any decisions until I see the entire facts.

    1. “Edited incomplete video”

      I See why people want body cam footage released as it’s filmed. Simple thing to do is stream it to a server police departments have limited access to.

    2. @Melanin Magdalene Ok, released as it’s filmed. That’s a brilliant idea, so I can watch and see people’s private addresses, arrest records, vehicle plate IDs, and other private information that takes time to be redacted and see it all real time.

    3. @Reuben Sandwich

      I have a lot of descent ideas, tho you’re being facetious. I deliberately withheld a key bit of info that covers your concerns.

    1. @Old Luke If that’s so, why did the cop tell him to grab on to a pier?? Provide link to the video where it shows he was 50 yards out. Thanks!

    2. @Ken Bob He didn’t do anything they told him to do and now he is dead. Maybe it 50 feet I am not a biologist. You look it up and post a link.

    3. @Old Luke They called for a boat right when he went into the water. (As reported)

    4. @Republic of Texas Why so angry? I would prefer them to report the facts. They write sensationalistic and misleading headlines and tell the story the same way. Just straight up report. That’s it.

  17. The narrative on this one is interesting to watch…and terrifying, knowing that they’re portraying it one way. They act like some poor guy fell off a bridge and was calling for help while the cops stood by, pointed and laughed and that’s NOT what happened…at all.

  18. Sounds like he was determined to swim despite the officers telling him not to go in. His body, his choice.

    1. His body, his choice. That’s what the 19 cops said about the Uvalde shooter for the hour they waited for him outside that classroom.

  19. What the hell were the officers supposed to do, dive in in full uniform from the bridge and put themselves in danger? If they did (and didn’t get injured by the very risky jump), the headline would’ve said, “police officers on leave after drowning man in lake.” The police are getting a raw deal in this country.

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