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Shocking footage shows US police officers laughing, mocking restrained man who died in custody

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Police body camera footage has revealed the last moments of a 32-year-old Dallas man, suffering from schizophrenia and depression, who died while being detained.

Warning: This story contains video and images that may be distressing for some viewers 

Newly released body camera footage shows US police officers laughing and joking as they restrain a man, moments before his death in custody.

The footage, taken during the August 2016 arrest of Tony Timpa, shows an unarmed and handcuffed Mr Timpa being restrained by three Dallas police officers before he suddenly begins screaming at them.

“Hey Tony, we’re trying to help you out man… just relax,” an officer can be heard responding.

Tony Timpa is restrained by three Dallas police officers.
Tony Timpa is restrained by three Dallas police officers.
Dallas Morning News

As the video continues, Mr Timpa goes quiet - having fallen unconscious.

Seemingly unaware their arrest is taking his last breaths, the two officers can be heard joking.

"'I don't want to go to school'," one officer can be heard saying.

“We made breakfast - scrambled eggs – your favourite.”

One of the officers goes on to joke about a "Greek Oaks cocktail special, an apparent reference to a private psychiatric facility in Dallas.

Mr Timpa can be heard muttering “help me, help me, help me" during the exchange.

The shocking footage was obtained by The Dallas Morning News this week after a three-year legal battle.

An autopsy by the Dallas County Medical Examiner describes Mr Timpa’s death as the result of “excessive physical restraint” and cocaine use.

Police initially arrested Mr Timpa man after responding to a 911 call, in which the Dallas man said he was suffering schizophrenia and depression and had not been taking his medication.

Officers then handcuffed his hands behind his back and zip-tied his legs together, with the Dallas Morning News reporting Mr Timpa was held face-down for almost 14 minutes. 

Tony Timpa is pinnefd with his body to the ground.
Tony Timpa is pinnefd with his body to the ground.
Dallas Morning News

During that time, the police also did not check the arrested man's breathing or airways.

“I hope I didn’t kill him," an officer can be heard telling a fellow police officer.

“He’s not breathing?” an officer then asks the paramedic.

As paramedics load Mr Timpa onto a gurney one can be heard telling the officers: “He’s dead.”

Paramedics waited at least four minutes to begin CPR, according to the Dallas Morning News.

A federal judge decided to release the footage determining the public had a "compelling interest" in understanding the "fatal exchange".

Dallas police officers handcuffed Tony Timpa and zip-tied his legs.
Dallas police officers handcuffed Tony Timpa and zip-tied his legs.
Dallas Morning News

The three officers – Dustin Dillard, Kevin Mansell and Danny Vasquez – were indicted two years ago on charges of misdemeanour deadly conduct.

But a Dallas County District Attorney dismissed the charges in March this year and they have since returned to active duty.

The “prone position” used to hold the victim is a controversial one that studies have linked to increasing the risk of suffocation and sudden death.

Tony Timpa fell unconscious while being detained.
Tony Timpa fell unconscious while being detained.
Dallas Morning News

A custodial death report says the victim was initially restrained by a security guard after “the subject began walking into traffic” before police intervened.

The Dallas Police Department answered “no” when asked if Mr Timpa resisted arrest or threatened others in the custodial death report.

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