Two Utah police officers were caught on bodycam footage refusing to provide aid to a dying Black man after he was stabbed.
Ryan Outlaw, 39, was fatally stabbed by his girlfriend, Jennifer Tobar, on 13 November 2020 during a domestic dispute at the Covey Apartments in Salt Lake City.
Nearly two years later, Fox13 exclusively obtained footage that shows Salt Lake City Police officers Ian Anderson and Jadah Brown’s failing to administer any first aid to Outlaw as he bled out inside an elevator for approximately eight minutes.
“What do you want me to do? I’m not [a] paramedic. Medical is on the way,” Officer Anderson can be heard saying as Tobar pleads with the officers to help Outlaw.
Four 911 calls were made before police arrived at the scene and one of the callers asked the operator if they should help Outlaw out of the elevator. Officers responded to the scene nearly 30 minutes after the first 911 was made and about eight minutes later, an ambulance arrived and transported Outlaw to the hospital. He died an hour and a half later.
Fox13 reported that its journalists sought out the footage after receiving anonymous tips from members of the law enforcement community to investigate SLCP’s response to Outlaw’s stabbing.
After the attack, Tobar took Outlaw to the elevator, where he collapsed on the floor. When they arrived, Officer Anderson and Officer Brown asked Outlaw, who was crying in pain and actively losing blood, to come out of the elevator.
“Ryan, crawl out of the elevator, okay?” Officer Anderson said, according to the footage obtained by Fox13. “Hey, come this way.”
“You’re not doing anything about it!” Tobar told officers and then inquired again: “Why are you letting him just lay like that?”
“We’re not paramedics,” Officer Anderson reiterated. “We have medical on the way.”
Outlaw’s family only learned about his final moments on the elevator when Fox13 reporters showed them the harrowing bodycam footage.
“It’s just heartbreaking to know that these are the times we’re in,” Mr Outlaw’s father, Willie Outlaw, told the outlet. “It’s as if he (had) some disease or something... We don’t know if a few more minutes, a few more seconds could have made a difference. We don’t know.”
Mr Outlaw’s cousin, London Outlaw, also posted on Facebook that the family had no idea about the department’s response.
“We assumed that simply succumbed to his injuries but surveillance shows that 2 cops were already on the scene. The [two] police officers distanced themselves from my cousin telling him to get out of the elevator after being stabbed multiple times. You can hear him saying ‘help me please,’” Ms Outlaw wrote.
Meanwhile, the SLCPD has stood by the officers, saying they did what they were expected and trained to do.
“In critical care situations, officers are expected, as they did in this case, to request paramedics and firefighters respond. This is part of our community’s dedicated and coordinated public safety response,” the department said in a statement.
“The women and men of the Salt Lake City Police Department are guardians of our community. They are committed to preserving life, maintaining professionalism, and treating everyone with compassion and dignity.”
The department justified the officer's failure to promptly assist Outlaw based on the fact that medical help was on the way, and that they were also required to “preserve the scene” and could not allow the elevator door to close.
“Generally, the first officer at a potential crime scene is responsible for the immediate safety of the public and preservation of the scene. Officers are to consider officer safety and the safety of those entering and exiting the area, including those who may render medical aid,” the department said.
“The demands on officers are great. Each officer must make individual considerations when responding to calls for service, including determining whether it is safe to render medical aid.”
Salt Lake City Police Officers are required to receive 14 hours of medical and trauma training every year. The Outlaw family is considering taking legal action against the department, Ms Outlaw said.