A Cobb County teen who drowned last year on a school trip to Belize was wearing a portable camera which recorded the last moments of his life, including his struggle for help and final breaths.
Tomari Jackson's mother, Adell Forbes, is suing the Cobb County School System, the trip's chaperones, and the wildlife sanctuary where he was swimming when he died.
Jackson's mother and her attorneys held a press conference Friday.
"We now have in possession of that video camera with the video tape," said attorney Tricia 'CK' Hoffler. "We have experts that will verify that. It chronicles his last breath."
Hoffler showed parts of the video to reporters and media who attended the press conference. It showed Tomari surfacing and trying to get the attention of others. It also showed him saying "Help" at least twice. The last moments show him sinking to the bottom of the water.
Jackson's body was later found in about 25 feet of water. Police in Belize said they believe he got stuck on or tangled in some underwater debris.
"I'm led to believe after looking at the video that his safety was never a priority or concern," said Adell Forbes, Tomari Jackson's mother. "That's beyond amazing and it breaks my heart even more just from looking at it. This really should have never happened.
Jackson's mother alleges the chaperones and staff at the wildlife sanctuary did not properly oversee the students.
"There's evidence from the video cam there were chaperones on the beach, one or two in the water, not paying full attention to what was going on," said Hoffler. "This is what we see when we look at this through Tomari Jackson's eyes."
While Jackson's attorneys showed the video to the media today, they will not release it until they have blurred the faces of the other children and adults so they can protect their identify.
"If you can imagine a drowning occurring through the eyes of a child who's drowning," said Hoffler. "We hear his cries of help. No one was paying attention to Tomari Jackson."
"I will never see my son again," said Forbes. "He will never say to me again 'Mom, I love you.'"
11Alive reached out to Cobb County Schools for a reaction. A spokesperson said they could not comment on on-going litigation.