Utah police officer scrolled through TikTok after refusing to help dying Black man, bodycam shows
A Utah police officer was caught on bodycam footage scrolling through TikTok in the moments after he refused aid to a Black man dying of stab wounds.
The footage was recorded on 13 November 2020 when Salt Lake City Police Officer Ian Anderson arrived at the scene of a domestic dispute to find 39-year-old Ryan Outlaw bleeding in an elevator after being stabbed by his girlfriend, Fernanda Tobar, 24.
Officer Anderson and his colleague, Officer Jaddah Brown, recently came under fire when Fox13 first published bodycam footage that shows how they failed to administer first aid to Outlaw as he bled out for approximately eight minutes. Now, questions have also been raised about Officer Anderson’s response during his investigation of the crime after Outlaw was finally transported to a hospital.
Full bodycam footage obtained by The Independent shows Officer Anderson playing games and watching TikToks as he sits on stairs steps on the floor where Outlaw was stabbed around two and a half hours after he arrived at the scene.
He is on and off his phone for almost an hour as he and other law enforcement officials investigate the Black man’s death. The muted bodycam footage has renewed outrage about the officers’ inaction, which Outlaw’s family and policing experts decried in an interview with The Independent.
In the video, Officer Anderson is seen ordering a barely conscious and heavily bleeding Outlaw to crawl out of the elevator. He is then heard saying “what do you want me to do? Medical is coming,” when his killer begged him to try to save her boyfriend’s life.
At no point did Anderson or Brown provide medical care or even touch Outlaw.
The Salt Lake City Police initially defended the officers’ response. In a statement to Fox13, the department said that they had acted in line with training and “made the best decisions they could in a very dynamic and difficult situation.”
SLCPD told The Independent on Friday that it has since opened a “preliminary review” into the officers’ response to the stabbing.
“At this point, the City is doing a review [of] the facts, policy, and law around this incident and we can’t comment at this time. This is considered a preliminary review only,” a spokesperson said.
In the aftermath of the incident, bodycam footage shows Officer Anderson informing other responding officers and detectives of what had happened. He gave out forms for witnesses of the crime to fill out before meeting law enforcement in a cordoned-off area of the seventh floor, where Outlaw and Tobar lived.
Dr David Thomas, a retired Gainesville, Florida, police officer, author, policing expert, and professor at the Florida Gulf Coast University, told The Independent that there could be grounds to hold the officers criminally responsible for what happened.
“[The officers] can be charged legally for malfeasance of duty and negligence, meaning they were just not doing their job. Especially [if] they had the tools and abilities to do so, there’s just no reason not to.”
Officers Anderson and Brown remain employed by the Salt Lake City Police Department.
The Independent has reached out to Salt Lake City Police for comment about Officer Anderson’s involvement in the immediate investigation of Outlaw’s death.