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‘No Pulse! No Pulse!’: Newly Released Video Shows Texas Man Being Denied Water While Restrained By Medical Staff and Police Officers Before He Stops Breathing

On April 9, shocking bodycam footage was released to the public showing a distressed unarmed man dying in police custody at a Dallas hospital in 2022.

Kenneth Knotts’s hands were cuffed behind his back, with no less than three hospital cops surrounding him while he urgently pleaded for water and struggled to catch his breath.

In the disturbing clip, the dad of four suddenly yells, “I can’t breathe,” — a chilling echo of the words uttered by George Floyd before he died.

Many of the same issues and outrages surrounding George Floyd’s tragic death on May 25, 2020, have flared up again with the death of Kenneth Knotts. A medical examiner had previously deemed Knotts’ death a homicide, yet a grand jury decided not to indict the police involved.

Bodycam footage released of Black man restrained by officers at Texas hospital
Bodycam footage released of Black man restrained by officers at UT Southwestern Medical Center (Credit: Henley and Henley, P.C./Jocelyn Knotts)

“He had a lot of life to live and loved his children and his family,” his grieving mother, Jocelyn Knotts, told Fox 4 on the heels of an excessive force lawsuit the family filed against UT Southwestern Medical Center. His family is determined not to give up in their fight for justice.

“I’m very angry right now because there is no reason for Kenneth to be gone,” Jocelyn said.

What happened to Kenneth Knotts?

Knotts, 41, was on a road trip from Houston to Dallas with a woman and two of his children when a tire blew out in Hutchins, Texas, around 8 a.m., according to the complaint filed by family’s attorney, Geoff Henley. This prompted what his mom later characterized as a mental breakdown based on a description from his female passenger.

Officers arrived to find Knotts on top of a white SUV at a convenience store on Interstate 45, holding an infant in his arms, according to CBS News. The law allows officers to arrest the mentally disordered without a warrant if they pose a threat to others or themselves — police have significant discretion in these incidences.  

Police arrested Knotts on November 29, 2022 and took him to UT Southwestern Medical Center that morning for a psych evaluation.

Knotts, who was still out-of-sorts, managed to escape the hospital, but the police brought him back, and that’s where the video footage reportedly picks up. His attorney Henley released eight minutes in a press conference but says there are almost 20 additional unreleased video and audio recordings of the incident from different angles.

“I Can’t breathe”

Hospital police allowed Knotts to get water from a faucet with his hands while still restrained. However, we see in the footage that he desperately pleaded for more and was held back on the hospital bed by at least three officers.

The footage shows Knotts face down, moaning and struggling before his body goes completely still. Medical staff struggle to lift a seemingly unconscious Knotts back onto the bed when one shouts, “No pulse! No pulse!”

“He wasn’t breathing, was he?” one medical staffer asked, before saying “s–t.” After an hour of life-saving measures, Knotts was pronounced dead at approximately 1:02 p.m.

His attorney, Henley, believes the hands pressing on his client and the way he was positioned on the bed became lethal, according to CBS News.

When you are prone and handcuffed, you are utterly defenseless and in severe risk of your life because you just cannot breathe,” Henley said.

The medical examiner ruled his manner of death “homicide,” writing, “based on the case history…and review of available law enforcement body-worn camera footage, it is my opinion that Kenneth Knotts…died as a result of sudden cardiac arrest associated with physical restraint and semi-prone position,” reported Fox4 in October of 2023. But a Dallas County grand jury decided not to indict any hospital police or medical workers in connection with the homicide.  

Meanwhile, the hospital had not released footage, identified any of the cops who were involved, or even disclosed his death had occurred.

The Knotts family filed a federal civil lawsuit against the UT System in October 2023, alleging excessive force, and the video footage released this week helps shine a light on what occurred that fateful morning in November. Henley told The Dallas Morning News, “The guy was in mental distress, clearly he was irrational, but you don’t have to kill them to solve what is absolutely a medical problem.”

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