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Family of man who drowned in Tempe Town Lake still looking for answers

The family of a man who drowned in Tempe Town Lake last year while police officers watched is asking the city to do more to prevent future drownings.

Next Sunday will mark one year since 34-year-old Sean Bickings, known to friends as Madrocks, drowned in Tempe.

Sean was my only child, Bickings mother Turee Toro said. I worried about him all the time - endlessly. But never could i have imagined him dying the way he did.

Body camera footage from last May shows Bickings jumping into the water and swimming away from Tempe officers. After a while, he cried for help and none came.

The family is seeking $3 million in damages from the city, citing tremendous grief.

The familys attorneys Benjamin Taylor and Dominic Gomez say they are disappointed to see no changes have been made around Tempe Town Lake.

If you walk all the way up and down, you dont see any life-saving devices, Taylor said Saturday.

After Bickings death, the city of Tempe said they were implementing a new initiative to help prevent drowning incidents at Tempe Town Lake and Kiwanis Lake. The initiative includes issuing a 'throw bag' to every Tempe police officer and installing new rescue devices around the lakes.

But Bickings family says the lack of life-saving devices around the lake is very concerning.

I would ask that the city of Tempe please put life preservers up so that nobody else has to die, Toro said. Im not saying it will help everybody but even if it just helps one person that would be a lot.

A Scottsdale police review determined the officers should not have gone in after Bickings citing a safety risk. Their report cites multiple reasons why the officers may not have attempted a water rescue, including the fact that Bickings may have pulled down anyone who was not properly equipped or trained to rescue him.

Bickings had met with city leaders just two days before he died.

He asked for help for himself and he asked for help for other homeless people. Unfortunately, help didnt come soon enough for him, Turo said.

His family and friend blew bubbles at Tempe Town Lake Saturday to honor Bickings who they remember for having a heart of gold.

He had one of the strongest most beautiful spirits of anyone Ive ever met, said Austin Davis with AZ Hugs for the Houseless. His vision and philosophy for pushing love forward and taking care of each other is something I think its vital we push forward now in honor of him.