A crowd of Alameda, CA police and firefighters stood by and watched for an hour as a suicidal man threatened to drown himself and then did so. They not only failed to rescue the man, they actually asked a civilian at the scene -- a 20-year-old woman -- to retrieve the dead man's body, claiming that they were legally forbidden from doing so.
Their reason for not intervening to help the man or retrieve his body? They were concerned that the town would be liable for any injury to the man or to town employees which might have happened during a rescue or recovery attempt. The town's mayor and police chief continue to defend this decision, although they now say that they intend to reinstate a marine rescue training program which would bring future rescue attempts under their insurance coverage.
from abc7news.com: Alameda agrees to reinstate water rescue training after man drowns at Crown Beach