10.1.20

You're gonna kill me!': Dallas police body cam footage reveals the final mins

Tony Timpa wailed and pleaded for help more than 30 times as Dallas police officers pinned his shoulders, knees and neck to the ground.

“You’re gonna kill me! You’re gonna kill me! You’re gonna kill me!”

After Timpa fell unconscious, the officers who had him in handcuffs assumed he was asleep and didn’t confirm that he was breathing or feel for a pulse.



As precious minutes passed, the officers laughed and joked about waking Timpa up for school and making him waffles for breakfast.

Body camera footage obtained Tuesday by The Dallas Morning News shows first responders waited at least four minutes after Timpa became unresponsive to begin CPR. His nose was buried in the grass while officers claimed to hear him snoring -- apparently unaware that the unarmed man was drawing his last breaths.

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“It’s just basic science: People can be essentially suffocated to death when they're lying on their stomachs in a prone position and there’s weight on their backs compressing their chest and diaphragm,” Heipt said.

“As soon as [police] have someone handcuffed, they’ve got to know to turn them on their sides and be on the lookout for any compromised breathing issues.”

For a person who is restrained and gasping for air, the instinct often is to panic and struggle. Officers may interpret this as resisting and apply more pressure to the person’s back.

“It’s a lethal cycle that happens,” Heipt said.

When officers first arrived at the scene, they told Timpa he would be OK. “We’re gonna get you some help, man,” one of the officers tells him.

But within 15 minutes, Timpa’s not breathing and Dillard can be heard saying: “I hope I didn’t kill him.”

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