Cops Are Telling Paramedics To Inject Arrestees With Ketamine. Worse, EMS Crews Are Actually Doing It.

from the horrific-behavior-by-all-involved dept

Something strange and disturbing is going on in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Cops have been instructing paramedics to use certain drugs to subdue arrestees, which is about as advisable as allowing paramedics to instruct officers on use of force. Cops don’t know what’s best for arrestees in terms of medical care. The fact that paramedics have been following their instructions is the most disturbing fact of all. As the Star Tribune reports, cops telling EMS personnel what to do has put people’s lives in jeopardy.

Minneapolis police officers have repeatedly requested over the past three years that Hennepin County medical responders sedate people using the powerful tranquilizer ketamine, at times over the protests of those being drugged, and in some cases when no apparent crime was committed, a city report shows.

On multiple occasions, in the presence of police, Hennepin Healthcare EMS workers injected suspects of crimes and others who already appeared to be restrained, according to the report, and the ketamine caused heart or breathing failure, requiring them to be medically revived. Several people given ketamine had to be intubated.

The paramedics are fully complicit in this horror show. They’re overriding their own knowledge and medical training with catastrophic results. This atrocious behavior was exposed by a report from the Office for Police Conduct Review. The report showed ketamine injections increased from three in 2012 to 62 in 2017. It wasn’t until this report was delivered to police that anyone decided to do anything about it. The Minneapolis Police Commander has now forbidden officers from instructing EMS crews to sedate a subject.

Ketamine is a dangerous drug. The police know this. They classify it as a “date rape” drug, capable of putting people into deep sedation and altering their memories. Healthcare providers know this, too, which is why they’re often hesitant to use it as a sedative if the subject has preexisting breathing problems. Ketamine can kill under these circumstances. When used as a first response in the sedation of detainees, medical histories aren’t available and the outcome can be death.

Allowing police to “prescribe” sedatives is a horrible idea. The report shows Minneapolis cops nuked arrestees with a powerful sedative just because. In many of the cases examined, there appeared to be no reason to escalate to a dangerous sedative.

To evaluate how the sedative was being used, the Office of Police Conduct Review investigators looked for mentions of the word in police reports, and then reviewed body camera footage from those cases.

“Multiple videos showed individuals requiring intubation after being injected with ketamine, and [police] reports indicate that multiple individuals stopped breathing and/or their hearts stopped beating after being injected with ketamine,” the report said.

The police encounters that led to EMS using ketamine ranged from cases of obstruction of justice to jaywalking, according to the report. One man was dosed with ketamine while strapped to a stretcher and wearing a spit hood.

Unbelievably, the story gets worse. Those dosed with ketamine at the suggestion of police officers suffered rude awakenings at Minneapolis hospitals. Hennepin Healthcare went ahead and enrolled detainees in its ketamine study without their consent. Supposedly consent isn’t actually required by law, which makes a sort of cosmic sense when you’re studying the effects of a date rape drug. “Enrollees” could opt out afterward, but that offers little comfort when you’ve been sedated so heavily you need a machine to breathe for you.

This study exacerbated Hennepin Healthcare’s ketamine problem. Ramping up dosings at the request of cops had already increased the number of life-threatening reactions to the drug. This incentive allowed this to carried over to day-to-day work, resulting in EMS personnel using ketamine whenever possible, even without verbal shoves from under-educated cops.

Body camera footage from one case showed a woman, after being Maced by police, asking for an asthma pump, the draft report said.

Instead, a paramedic gave her an injection of ketamine.

“If she was having an asthma attack, giving ketamine actually helps patients and we’re doing a study for agitation anyway so I had to give her ketamine,” the unnamed paramedic told a police officer, according to the report.

After receiving ketamine, the woman’s breathing stopped, and medical staff resuscitated her, according to the report.

Of course, there’s an explanation for all of this. It comes courtesy of Hennepin Healthcare’s top official. And it sounds like something written by police officers, rather than an expert in the medical field.

Dr. William Heegaard, chief medical officer for Hennepin Healthcare, said ketamine can be a lifesaving tool when paramedics encounter people showing signs of “excited delirium,” a condition when severe agitation can lead to death.

When you’re fighting a losing battle against negative press, the worst thing you can do is name a condition that originated with the pseudoscience of 19th century insane asylums and was revived by the manufacturer of Tasers to help law enforcement agencies bullshit their way through court cases involving citizens tased to death by cops.

In the past, Taser has hosted seminars and sent out pamphlets on excited delirium to police and medical examiners’ groups across the country; sued medical examiners who listed their stun guns as a cause of death; and even gave law enforcement agencies a ready-made statement for when someone dies after police shock them with a stun gun: “We regret the unfortunate loss of life. There are many cases where excited delirium caused by various mental disorders or medical conditions, that may or may not include drug use, can lead to a fatal conclusion.”

Heegaard’s hospital and staff engage in highly-questionable behavior and he’s trying to pin it on a condition most of the medical community doesn’t recognize as an actual syndrome. This whole debacle shows just how far cops have strayed from the “serve and protect” ideal. This is all about making things as easy as possible for officers accompanying detainees to medical care facilities. They want them knocked out, even if it raises the risk of killing them.

It also shows how easy it is for abusive behavior to spread when it’s originating from law enforcement officers. Paramedics know better. They know they’re the first line of defense against further injury or trauma. And they’re willing to throw that all away just because a cop tells them to dope up compliant detainees.

On top of everything, there’s the skewed incentives of Hennepin Healthcare, which has found a way to gather subjects for studies by sedating them so heavily they can’t possibly object to anything. There should be a whole lot of people in both fields filing for unemployment. But that isn’t how thing work when cops are involved. New policies will be put in place and everyone who fucked citizens with unneeded ketamine injections will just go back to work with a mental note in place reminding them to be a bit more careful when abusing the public’s trust.

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Comments on “Cops Are Telling Paramedics To Inject Arrestees With Ketamine. Worse, EMS Crews Are Actually Doing It.”

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Daydream says:

Re: Re:

That’s what I thought the article was actually about at first; cops having suspects forcibly injected with drugs prior to subjecting them to a drug test, so they’re guaranteed a positive and a justified arrest/search/whatever.

‘Fortunately’, this is only about cops instructing paramedics to use tranquillisers on innocent victims when it’s unnecessary and/or harmful to do so.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No, kid: I'm sure that police wanted easy safe solution.

They aren’t ordering in article I read (in other words, that’s just a Typical Techdirt lie), but perhaps suggesting is too much.

We need to provide police with the simple quick sedative face sprays as used in the movie "Idiocracy".

Anyhoo, kid: you keep forcing choice between even evil but predictable police and drug-crazed animals which need physical restraint, and you "liberals" will continue to lose support from the majority. Your lies won’t drive anyone reasonable to an extreme, only make the choice clear.

And now the breaking BIG NEWS:


Which of course is already going because he has 175 stolen MILLIONS with which to obstruct justice.

It said US authorities had "a clear prima facie case to support the allegations that the appellants conspired to, and did, breach copyright wilfully and on a massive scale for commercial gain".

Dotcom is accused of industrial-scale online piracy via Megaupload, which US authorities shut down when the raid took place.

HA, HA! Your thieving "hero" is going to be JAILED, kids!

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“And now the breaking BIG NEWS:”

That’s all we need to know about you. Someone potentially going to an initial trial for possibly depriving corporations of some income is bigger news than cops having people injected with potentially deadly and life altering drugs to make their jobs easier.

Do you actually understand how psychotic you are?

“Your thieving “hero” is going to be JAILED, kids!”

If he’s subjected to a fair trial and due process, is found guilty according the the law and is given a reasonable punishment as a result, nobody here has ever had a problem with that. It’s the horrific, immoral and potentially illegal methods used that are the issue, not the crime he was accused (not convicted) of doing.

The problem is, and always has been, the removal of rights and due process at the behest of a foreign country with punishment before trial. Why do you dislike civilisation so much?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

you keep forcing choice between even evil but predictable police and drug-crazed animals which need physical restraint

drug-crazed animals

They are people. Not animals, not sub-human filth—people.

By the way, the choice is not between “cops and criminals”, as you would see it, but between finding a way to subdue non-violent people without potentially killing them and…well, subduing them by forcing upon them a drug that could potentially kill them. If police officers cannot subdue someone without forcing what is commonly known as a date rape drug into that someone’s body, those officers need a new career.

Your lack of sympathy for people who have had their lives irrevocably altered by a drug does not surprise me, though. Your history of never criticizing police in any circumstance leads me to believe you would defend a police officer regardless of any charge or complaint brought against them. Perhaps you should look for a job with a police union, if’n you want to let officers maim and kill without oversight.

David says:


On top of everything, there’s the skewed incentives of Hennepin Healthcare, which has found a way to gather subjects for studies by sedating them so heavily they can’t possibly object to anything. There should be a whole lot of people in both fields filing for unemployment.

Sorry, disagree. As far as I know, there is no way to file for unemployment while jailed for reckless endangerment and willful and premeditated physical injury. I’m fine with them filing for unemploment once they have served appropriate time for their crimes.

Zonker says:

Re: Disagree.

Still would be ineligible. A worker’s employment has to be terminated due to no fault of their own (as in a layoff) in order to qualify for unemployment.

Termination for gross misconduct, such as a paramedic forcibly injecting someone with a date-rape drug or an officer for ordering them to, would be ineligible for unemployment compensation.

Anonymous Coward says:

I worked as a paramedic for 36 years in Minneapolis and have administered Ketamine in the pre-hospital setting.

Ketamine is widely used as a quick, safe and effective way to sedate those in the throes of a mental health crisis or chemical intoxication where the patient is a danger to themselves or others. These are medical emergencies. These are patients and not criminal suspects.

The danger is sudden cardiac arrest due to continued and uncontrollable strenuous physical activity. There are well documented instances where people have died in such circumstances due to metabolic acidosis and the various maladies associated with that condition. Mortality is thought to be between 10-16%. It has now been shown, by medical studies, that death can be averted by prompt chemical sedation.

It is common to sedate those already restrained due to their continued struggles even when escape is hopeless. In fact it is a really good indication that sedation is needed.

The need for sedation of some patients, whether in the hospital or in the field is not controversial. In the pre-hospital setting the choices historically have been Haldol, Versed or a combination of the two. The addition of Ketamine over the past few years has given medical personnel an option that is quicker acting, shorter in duration of effect, and fewer serious side effects.

I.T. Guy says:

Re: Re: Anonymous Coward

“sedate those in the throes of a mental health crisis”
Uh huh. Tell us more brah. Dramatics much? Being agitated because you are dealing with a dickhead cop(s) is in no way:
“in the throes of a mental health crisis”

“The need for sedation of some patients, whether in the hospital or in the field is not controversial.”

Duke you make a bunch of general descriptions in an appeal-to-authority that has no bearing on the fact that police shouldn’t be ordering paramedics to give people dangerous drugs. Period. Police are in no position to make that call. Unless is it needed in the course of your triage assessment, injecting someone with a unnecessary drug is the equivalent of poisoning them.

“It is common to sedate those already restrained due to their continued struggles even when escape is hopeless.”
Where? Where is that common? On the street? By Police? Mental health facilities?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I’m personally interested in what happened between “being cited for jaywalking” and “needing to be sedated with a drug that was originally a horse tranquilliser”.

There may well be a mental health crisis involved, but I don’t think that’s the correct solution, and there would presumably have been many preventative steps.

Cdaragorn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Anonymous Coward

Except that no one in the article ever said that Ketamine should never be used by EMS personnel. Your argument is a strawman.

Go read the article again and the links provided as proof of what is being presented and then come back and explain this is being used in SITUATIONS that it absolutely should never be used in and under the direction of individuals who have absolutely no training or authority to direct its use.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Anonymous Coward

This is essentially like the stories where people question the use of tasers as a compliance tool, and someone comes back with stats of how “safe” they are compared to batons or asking if people would prefer they would just be shot instead. Well, of course tasers may be better than the other methods of violent submission, but the question is why anything is required to begin with.

Same here. What’s troubling is not specifically that ketamine is being used, but that it’s being used so often and possibly at the direction of non-medical personnel – to the point where people are nearly dying as a result.

If your response is to answer “why ketamine” rather than “why are so many people being forcibly drugged”, then you may have missed the point under discussion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Anonymous Coward

Tasers were originanlly presented to the public as a less-lethal alternative to firearms, to be used when cops had ample justification to shoot and kill someone. It’s use in such situations is not controversial, but commendable. But it’s non-bloody nature also invites abuse.

Instead of using the term “compliance tool”, just call it what it really is, a torture devise.

Duke Powell says:

Re: Re: Re:

Yes, and that is crystal clear. It is a medical decision made by the paramedic. The police in these cases are acting in their role as medical first responders. In these settings they provide man-power to help control the situation AND, more importantly, provide a History of Present Illness that many times is not available from anyone other source.

Will B. says:

Re: Re: Re: I beg your goddamn pardon?

“The police in these cases are acting in their role as medical first responders.”

The police ARE NOT medical first responders. That would be EMS. At most, specific, trained members of the police can administer immediately necessary life-saving measures such as chest compressions and breathing assistance until EMS are on the scene. They are NOT qualified to make a determination of whether a patient needs sedation for medical reasons, and they are CERTAINLY not qualified togive medical instruction to the ACTUAL GODDAMN EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES.

Get. Off. It. The cops don’t even know the laws they ostensibly enforce, much less whether a demonstrably compliant detainee needs a horse tranquilizer.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo would not comment on the specifics of the draft, but credited it for changing his department’s approach to interacting with EMS workers.

“We have that in place now,” Arradondo said. “That policy really defines and clarifies that we do not want our officers providing recommendations or suggestions to EMS personnel.”

Yeah, so the report was a bunch of shit, but there was also a procedure change to address said bunch of shit?

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: So administering ketamine is always under supervision...

…of a doctor or psychiatrist that has assessed the patient in question?

I’ve already seen incidents in which nurses would administer drugs to patients who were too inconvenient or ubcooperative, and even then those drugs were mild tranquilizers that didn’t endanger the patient.

I suspect that the notion that they might be injected with something dangerous would be enough to incite panic. What does it matter if they’re assessed as a danger to themselves or others when they’re detained and threatened by those who pose a significant danger to them?

This is entirely an Orwellian nightmare made real.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I work as registered nurse in the booking department of my local county jail so I am often faced with making these types of decisions myself. Unfortunately this article seems to come from a biased point of view as opposed to one that exhibits education and experience pertaining to this subject matter, which sadly only goes into feeding the fear and mistrust of those who risk their lives to serve and protect us every day. As a medical professional who works with this population on a daily basis, I understand that excited delirium is a very real medical condition and that allowing these individuals to struggle against physical restraints when in this hyper metabolic state puts them at a high risk for sudden cardiac arrest. It is far more concerning in situations like these to have an officer who opposes the use chemical sedation than one who will advocate for it. Thank you for taking the time to provide a response that comes from an educated point of view.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Tranquilizers for disagreeable patients.

It bothers me when posts start with something like:

Unfortunately this article seems to come from a biased point of view as opposed to one that exhibits education and experience pertaining to this subject matter…

…but rather than getting into the specific points (to illustrate the bias) simply assume it’s true and obvious for everyone:

…which sadly only goes into feeding the fear and mistrust of those who risk their lives to serve and protect us every day.

It is far more concerning in situations like these to have an officer who opposes the use chemical sedation than one who will advocate for it.

Having been in partial-hospital programs, it’s been distressing to me how eager nurses can be to administer tranquilizers when their authority is challenged. I didn’t raise my voice. I didn’t make any threats or show any physical signs of aggression. I only raised questions about what the nurse was doing and why the program group was being subjected to it. In minutes I was face to face with the ward psychiatrist all-too-happy to dispense me a pill that would turn me into a drooling idiot. And this was without consulting my current psychiatric physician.

If the case at the McAuley Institute was unique, I could report it as an anomaly protocol. But this tactic is typical in the psychiatric sector as recent as the late aughts and there’s no indication that things would have gotten better since then, considering the change in political clime. (I was in PHP in the late 1990s). Patients are typically sedated for the convenience of nurses without consideration of what the patient needs, or whether his grievance has legitimacy.

So it would only follow that we allow for suspects to be sedated for the convenience of law enforcement, rather than in the best interests of the suspects they are detaining, without consulting the suspect’s / patient’s physicians and legal council first.

Institutional power is dangerous.

Anonymous Hero says:

> “If she was having an asthma attack, giving ketamine actually helps patients and we’re doing a study for agitation anyway so I had to give her ketamine,” the unnamed paramedic told a police officer, according to the report.

> After receiving ketamine, the woman’s breathing stopped, and medical staff resuscitated her, according to the report.

I suppose that’s one way to end an asthma attack…

Anonymous Coward says:

short memory?

Tim Cushing just got finished writing an article about an arestee who killed himself while in police custody who would probably have been saved by the use of some sort of knockout drug.

Ketamine can be a good thing when used properly. The main problem of course is that, just like police use of tasers, drugs will be used as a routine measure rather than –as the public will be assured– in those very rare instances that would otherwise have warranted a much more extreme, if not deadly, police response.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: short memory?

"…arestee who kill himself…"

That’s certainly one interpretation of "tased repeatedly while unrestrained in the back seat of their cruiser."

The judge, on this action (emphasis added):

Noting that Graham had been arrested only for the minor offense of public intoxication and was not attacking any of the officers while handcuffed in the back of the police cruiser, she wrote, “A jury could reasonably find that tasing Graham in the crotch for eight seconds could not have been reasonably calculated to protect any officer from harm.”

Plus, you know, threatening his life. I would expect to thrash about in that case.

And then later he ended up on the ground with an officer’s foot on his head, and later died in the jail cell.

What was he arrested for? Public intoxication.

Sure. He killed himself. Not "he was killed as a consequence of abusive behavior by law enforcement while in a vulnerable state."

Clearly a suicide.

Clearly sedation would have saved him. Let’s inject the dangerously drunk individual with a powerful chemical; that sounds like the best and least dangerous thing to do.

I suppose, when the alternative is the individuals charged with your safe-keeping are going to physically abuse you with their toys for the hell of it, you’re better off with the drug that might stop your heart. It’ll be less painful to die that way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: short memory?

That’s certainly one interpretation of "tased repeatedly while unrestrained in the back seat of their cruiser."

But you OMIT the prior clearly seen bashing his own head against the hardware, and that Coroner ruled head injury was cause of death, NOT tasing.

It’s easy to lie when omit easily facts, isn’t it? You just did EXACTLY as accuse the police of.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: short memory?

Please note the following line:

“I would expect to thrash about in that case.”

So, yes, certainly, complete omission.

So let’s handcuff the drunk guy, stuff him into the back seat a cruiser, not keep him from moving about via, say, a seatbelt, tase the shit out of him when he thrashes about (perhaps because he’s been shoved into the back of police cruiser and is filtering all of this through a drunken haze), then put our foot on the guy’s head after he’s repeatedly struck it on hard surfaces (after any failure to prevent him from doing so in a fashion that would not cause additional injury)…

And then somebody on the internet can use his story to say “ketamine would have saved this guy” on an article detailing cases where cops are ordering paramedics to inject ketamine in cases where the injection of the drug has led to medical complications.

cryophallion (profile) says:

Some Serious Underlying Questions

So, there are a few things here:
A. How long does this stuff last? I mean, the date rape drug I seem to recall meant you also couldn’t remember what happened. If there are no working body cams to prove what happened, this could potentially be a situation rife with ability to abuse.

B. The connection between the hospital doing this study and the police dept needs to be probed. When did this study start, and was it linked in any way to the more common usage? Was there communication between the entities about it? Is there any way one side gets a benefit due to this (money, renumeration, now with more patients, it helps some study practitioner, so they have more incentive to ask for more, etc)?

I see someone in the comments seems to be defending the use who has some experience, which is interesting to see (And why I love techdirt still having their own comments section). I’d like to hear an opposing medical practitioner viewpoint if there is one though. I just feel like there is still something shady with a study that adds patients prior to consent and the increase in usage though, and it doesn’t feel right.

Duke Powell says:

Re: Some Serious Underlying Questions

Good questions….let me attempt to answer.

A. EMS has used sedation in the pre-hospital setting for decades. At my service, we carried Haldol and Versed. They can be administered singly or in combination. The problem was both have negative side effects that can place the patient in danger AND their onset of effect was prolonged given IM. They also had a fairly long duration. Ketamine is a better substitute. It acts quickly IM, has a short duration and has little in the way of side effects, though they can occasionally occur.

B. Hennepin HealthCare is an academic tertiary Level I Adult and Pediatric Trauma Center. It has a nation-wide reputation for its rigorous research. No facility has conducted more research on Ketamine than Hennepin.
Hennepin EMS has carried ketamine for 10 years. We have worked closely with ALL of our first responders concerning its use in the pre-hospital setting. Training has been on-going.
There has been some who have questioned the study’s ethics concerning informed consent. I know just enough about that subject to get in trouble. I will say, however, that Hennepin backs its actions and has submitted everything for outside academic review as well as state government review.
They are being forthcoming as far as I know

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Some Serious Underlying Questions

Thank you Duke for providing your views based on your first-hand knowledge. however I don’t think you are addressing the issue leading to the article.

Based on what you’ve said it sounds like ketamine might be a good alternative to other sedation drugs used in the past. I don’t think anyone is disputing this.

What is being questioned is if the drug is being used when it isn’t necessary to do so, and if administration of the drug is being dictated by the police officers themselves without any oversight or approval from medical professionals.

David says:

Re: Re: Some Serious Underlying Questions

A. EMS has used sedation in the pre-hospital setting for decades

I apologize for my lack of understanding, but what exactly makes jaywalking a pre-hospital setting?

Are we preparing patients under the assumption that police are going to beat them up fit for hospitalisation anyway? If so, is there a correlation between dormant hospital capacities and the number of people considered to be pre-hospital material?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Some Serious Underlying Questions

Not mentioned in the previous citation:

“The Minneapolis Office of Police Conduct investigation found the number of documented ketamine injections during police calls increased from three in 2012 to 62 last year.”

Use of ketamine in the field under police direction has gone from less than once per quarter to more than weekly in 5 years. Yeah, I’m not seeing this as medically justified, but I’m not a doctor. And neither are cops.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Unbelievable!

Everyone involved in this should be send to prison. Cops and paramedics playing with the live of other people are criminals.

For what, specifically?

You’re going off Techdirt’s LYING slant: they were actually trying to prevent self-harm to individuals. The police are damned whatever do: failed to prevent self-injury, or risk some action that might cause more and give an ambulance-chaser sympathy pretext to sue.

Anyhoo, you kids just go on mindlessly bashing police, and threatening public officials, and because you’re so clearly in the wrong in supporting people who need to be restrained in some way, you are going to get MORE police state, with full support of the still reasonable majority. — And worst for you, it’ll be mostly aimed at the right targets, those like you who act like savages, stealing content, high on drugs, complaining about the actually very few rules that allow us all to live in ease.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Unbelievable!

This side of the pond, the police can deal with someone who is psychotic, delusional and waving a sword at things only they can see. But then they approached the person with polite assertiveness, with both remaining in view of the person, asked for and were given the saw. Then they got compliance in requesting the person to get into the back seat, whereon they drove the person to the local mental hospital.

Note, they did not draw their batons, or use handcuffs, or try to grab the person, but remained calm and polite, and gave the person time to act on their requests.

From what I have seen, a lot of the reason US police have to use retrain and force is that their very excited, aggressive and threatening behavior feeds any paranoia or delusions that a person is suffering from

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Unbelievable!

“You’re going off Techdirt’s LYING slant: they were actually trying to prevent self-harm to individuals.”

…and I’m sure you have a link to the breakdown that shows that this was the case in every incident, and not just you claiming someone is lying with no proof?

Of course you do. /s

Also, if your answer to preventing harm to an individual is to dose them with a dangerous drug that potentially stops them breathing, you’re either doing it very wrong or lying about your motives.

“And worst for you, it’ll be mostly aimed at the right targets”

Said every authoritarian dickhead until the moment they realised someone else thought they were the right target.

Sharur says:

Re: Re: Re: Unbelievable!

“a dangerous drug that potentially stops them breathing”.

I would direct you to Galen: “The dose makes the poison”. For example, you can lethally intoxicate someone with WATER. (And I don’t mean drowning, see

Everything is dangerous, and nothing is perfectly safe. The issue is not the use of ketamine; as others have stated in these comments, including an EMT, ketamine is a standard treatment in such cases.

The problem is that a) police have shown a poor track record of appropriate use of powers in general, and b) are now seemingly expanding into a new area of power, of which they know nothing about.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Unbelievable!

“For example, you can lethally intoxicate someone with WATER.”

Well true, but I’d also be against police administering water unnecessarily when better options are present.

“ketamine is a standard treatment in such cases”

It has numerous uses, some good, some bad. Some people use it to tranquillise horses, some use it to get off their faces at the weekend.

If genuinely being used as a last resort by medical professionals when they believe it is correct to use in that situation, so be it. The issues are whether the cops are making that decision for them, and whether the subject is being placed in greater danger had other tactics (NOT other medications) been used.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Unbelievable!

actually very few rules that allow us all to live in ease

Obviously you are not familiar with America’s miles long list of laws.

those like you who act like savages, stealing content, high on drugs, complaining

This coming from you who leads with insults and false accusations and can’t hold a polite argument and debate to save his life. And you wonder why no one listens to you.

ROGS... (user link) says:

Minnesota Land of 10000 Electronic Peeping Toms

Minnesota leads the pack in these healthcare/police abuses.

Worse,certain agencies there derive massive funding for crisis PR,with the net result as you describe above.

Like the Manassas Dick Pic cop seeking to inject a boys penis,and create state sponsored child porn, we see a very wel hidden and due process perversion at all levels of these cases.

In the dick pic case, that detective turned out to be a pedophile-but not just any pedophile-he was that regions Internet Crimes Against Children liason.

Minnesotas agencies are similarly staffed, from AttyGeneral Lori Swanson on down the food chain.

That state also has a major organized gang stalking problem,notoriously stalking journalists, and others with some cases utilizing police from 180 agencies in the case of reporterJessica Miles.

The state is nearly entirely dependent on federal welfare subsidies,and grants for counter terror initiatives, and this is what they use the money for.

With little surprise, the University of Minnesota houses Hitlers famous-and despicable Twins Studies,and once had a building named after Charles Fremont Dight, the godfather of eugenics.

No shit….something stinks in Minnesota.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Oh we have a study!!

Cool…. who is funding it?
Who did the ethics review of your plan to drug & then maybe offer them a chance to opt out if they survive?
Under what authority are police officers allowed to issue orders for drugs in MN?
Does your malpractice carrier know that your staff regularly takes patients from stable to needing dramatic life saving measures so you can have a study?
How fast do you think the state board is going to yank your license?
How fast do you think the hospital will be throwing you under the bus to pay the lawsuits?

Was trying to suck off Taser worth the shitstorm you have caused?
People were drugged without consent.
People were harmed by the administration of this drug.
Something something do no harm…
Sure hope the check was big enough because you hopefully ended your time as a doctor.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Everyone who questions the use of pre-hospital sedation should read the opinion of 44 EMS medical directors, national and international.

You seem to misunderstand the criticism. The criticism is the police officers apparently feeling obligated to tell the EMS personnel that are trying to be in line with the opinions of said medical directors, national and international, how to do their jobs. Because if police were capable of making those decisions, then frankly, what the hell do we need EMS for, other than a ride?

The most important worry concerns feckless police officers too lazy to do any digging and instructing trained professionals on subjects they know nothing about. Unless we can say that any of the police officers have read the opinions of the medical directors, both national and international, of course.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Strangely enough, in the UK, paramedics do not sedate at the site of an incident / in the ambulance other than in extremely rare circumstances.
UK paramedics are taught that plenty of drugs can have unwanted dangerous effects depending on a patients medical history / existing condition and so great care should be taken with such drugs … so they use them very carefully.

Disclosure: I am not a paramedic but several friends are (I do have a degree in pharmacology however, and so very aware that injecting (what is in the UK a drug mainly used as a horse tranquilizer) is not a thing to be done in an a routine manner without full possession of the relevant medical history.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

These doctors seem to have a different point of view. Let’s take a look at their list of risks:

Ketamine is considered relatively safe in medical settings, because it does not affect the protective airway reflexes, and it does not depress the circulatory system, as other anesthetic medications do.

However, some patients have reported disturbing sensations when awakening from ketamine anesthesia.

Ketamine can cause an increase in blood pressure and intracranial pressure, or pressure in the brain.

People with the following conditions cannot receive ketamine for medical purposes:

brain swelling


brain lesion or tumor

It is used with caution in those with:

coronary artery disease

increased blood pressure

thyroid disease

chronic alcohol addiction

acute alcohol intoxication


chest pain

mental illness

These effects may be stronger in people aged over 65 years.

Some people may have an allergy to the ingredients. Patients with any type of allergy should tell their doctor before using any medication.

Anyone who is using this drug for therapeutic purposes on a regular basis should have regular blood pressure checks.

Are the paramedics checking the medical history of their patients prior to administering Ketamine? That point about acute alcohol intoxication, but they use Ketamine on drunk people? I wonder about your 44 medial directors.

There is also the question of those police officers practicing medicine without a license.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Ketamine would potentially kill me, and so deploying Ketamine without getting my medical history is a bit questionable. The situations in which police might want to deploy it seem to dove tail with situations is which Ketamine or other sedatives are discouraged due to concerns about side effects. These aren’t patients who can provide a medical history. These are restrained individuals accused of crimes.

Ketamine has, according to a relatively trustworthy local paper, been administered to individuals at the direction of law enforcement, against the express wishes of the individuals. This has lead to death and the need to be revived, as their individual conditions caused the safe sedative that normally does not interfere with breathing to interfere with breathing, or cause cardiac issues….exactly the kind of issues you claim ‘pre-hospital sedation’ should prevent.

Lacking a solid statistical analysis suggesting it prevents a need for revivification more often then it causes it, I’m afraid your appeal to authority fails.

hij (profile) says:

An IRB approved these studies?

I have not looked more closely in to the details, but the non-consent aspect of the ketamine studies is deeply troubling. There are detailed rules for the protocols when a study involves prisoners. In this case the researchers may not have anticipated that people taken into custody would be involved in the study. The moment they became aware that they had people who meet the technical definition of being a prisoner they should have notified their IRB and changed their protocols.

ShadowNinja (profile) says:

I wouldn’t be surprised if the ‘study’ they were enrolled in without their consent wasn’t actually a study, but just a way to try to bill more to their insurance company.

I’ve actually seen this practice with my brother. When he was in the hospital for something else.

The insurance company called their bluff by paying them $0.00 for the ‘study’, and the hospital suddenly forgot about the ‘follow up’ that they said was required for the ‘study’.

That One Guy (profile) says:

YOU are fired. YOU are fired. ALL OF YOU ARE FIRED!

Yeah, ever last one of those involved, from the cops, to the paramedics, all the way up to the director should lose their jobs over this and be blackmarked against ever working in their respective fields again at a minimum.

Oh, you’re doing a study? Well now, clearly that justifies drugging multiple people without their consent
and with a drug that resulted in multiple people no longer breathing.

If that is how the ‘medical professionals’ in that hospital treat people I’d stay far, far away from them, even to the point of going to another town for medical treatment if need be. No telling what they’d try to do to anyone who shows up at their doors.

Jason M says:

There is an underlying problem among almost all these cases…American police unfortunately have a systemic problem when addressing violence.

Law enforcement should remember that they are there to “protect and serve” first. Training should shift more towards stopping violence, not initiating it. There are many non-violent physical crisis intervention techniques and training that needs to be included and emphasized in police academies. I have been through a couple myself and have certs, from time working security in a large hospital’s ER. During restraining incidents, the well-being of the subject was always first and foremost in our minds (well, only after the safety of those around). In my history, only a Dr would administer a sedative (but of course we were in a hospital). The problem and the solutions can be found within LEO training and general attitudes/mentality among officers. Not an easy thing to change, but I believe it is necessary we begin to try to do so.

Floyd Nightingale (profile) says:

I can’t imagine any licensed medical professional taking advice from a cop, whether an order or suggestion.

Unsolicited observations and comments from an RN with 20+ years in emergency medicine follow. In Detroit, okay, so I’ve seen my share of the drunk, the high, the psychotic…

Consider that policies, protocols and practices will vary from state to state and even between lower jurisdictions, but…

Responders here do not sedate or “tranquilize” patients in the field. They’ll improvise restraints or bring them in in handcuffs with cops.

People talk of a risk of metabolic acidosis secondary to prolonged agitation. Yeah, well that’s why you’re bringing them to a hospital. It can be treated, and the patients are typically less than five minutes away. These aren’t people we will ignore, even if we want to.

My experience with Ketamine is limited. I’ve been reading about this and people are talking about taking it for depression, or to get high, whatever. We use it only to sedate children for suturing or to reduce a bone. I think I heard that it was used on an adult in the last few years. I don’t know the reason.

When we use Ketamine, there’s a whole team at bedside. The patient is on a monitor – cardiac, blood pressure, oxygen and carbon dioxide – rescue equipment including intubation tray within reach. We use it rarely and when we do we’re prepared.

So what I’ve been reading tonight is that something like 60% of these people end up intubated. To the layman, that means they’re not protecting their airway. This encompasses a spectrum from no gag reflex to not fucking breathing, and the only thing that’s going to keep them alive is a tube down their throat and somebody squeezing a bag. This is extreme and unnecessary. Many of the cases I’m reading about describe patients with unremarkable agitation scores.

The medicines we do use for agitated customers, once they are received in a safe environment, typically include Haldol or Ativan, often in combination, or more rarely Versed. In tonight’s reading I saw that something less than 0.5% of people getting Haldol were subsequently intubated, or maybe they were already intubated, but I’ve dosed thousands of people with Haldol and never had a bad outcome beyond them pissing themselves. And I’ve given massive doses of Ativan, to the point where I remember as a young nurse I though I killed some guy and touched him and he launched into, well you shoulda seen it. People can really take a lot of benzos, but don’t try it. Seriously, the worst I’ve seen with these meds is that someone will think, uh, maybe we overdid it and they’ll put the patient on a monitor for a few hours. TLDR: the meds I’m used to are relatively safe but this Ketamine is scary.

And this whole thing is part of some research study that’s been going on for years. The ambulances are owned by the hospital behind the study and the police are, I dunno, recruiting subjects for this whack experiment? You tell me. Consent is assumed because, well you were agitated and we put you down, but patients can “opt out” later. I wonder how many people even understood this whole study thing after it was all done. Was it explained? Could they comprehend it?

I’m thinking of a study done here a few years ago. Medics were giving Valium instead of Ativan for seizures. First off, if you’re really seizing you can’t say no. Or maybe that’s all you can say but this can be a true medical emergency beyond a behavioral or control or a maybe-he’ll-go-acidotic-in-a-few-hours kind of thing. And both of these drugs are known to be safe and effective, they’re almost the same thing, and they were just trying to see if one was better.

I don’t know what they’re really doing in Minnesota, I only just read some things, but even with the best explanations it sounds fucked up.

Rene says:

Primary Use

While there *are* legitimate uses for Ketamine in emergencies, the reason police know of it is entirely unrelated to these uses. The reason it’s known by law-enforcement is for its value as a date-rape drug.

Simply put, no matter what was done to you, if your memory of the events is a blur, you are guilty of everything that may have been done to you by LEOs. Video and body-camera data will only be admissible after trials and/or once you’ve lost the lawsuit, so it’s the victim’s word against the police’s word, and through a heavy injection of ketamine, your word regarding the past few hours is now worthless

Wayne says:

Don't let facts stand in your way

Wow, I actually stopped reading because there was so many false statements, lets start with heart stopped after ketamine…..Well that would be a first. There is actually documented cases of Ketamine being given 100X the normal dose without effect. It is one of the safest drugs we use. It is one of the safest and becoming more and more popular from migraines to helping cut someone out of a car. It first started with Excited Delirium patients and yes EMS works with law enforcement to give it to people who are a threat to themselves of others. We have been giving it to kids for about 100 years in peds ER. There is ZERO cases of Ketamine alone causing respiratory depression to the extent of needing intubation. The use of Ketamine as a “Date Rape drug” is also ridiculous. Its was first use in vet medicine and now it is rapidly becoming one of most popular drugs to give in EMS. TO compare is ignorant. We also give people heroin in EMS…oh wait we call in fentanyl but yet it comes from the same plant, way to spin…….

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Don't let facts stand in your way

I do love it when someone lecturing people about facts can’t get their own straight. There’s so much wrong here, it’s hilarious, but let’s just cherry pick a few:

“There is actually documented cases of Ketamine being given 100X the normal dose without effect”

There’s documented cases of people being given massively more than the recommended safe level of alcohol and surviving, so clearly spiking random drinks at a children’s party is totally safe!

“There is ZERO cases of Ketamine alone causing…”

Even if true, are these people really taking into account a person’s full medical history before forcibly pumping drugs into them? I somehow doubt it. The “alone” is a nice way to try and weasel out of the fact that it has killed people, though.

“The use of Ketamine as a “Date Rape drug” is also ridiculous”

Is that why it’s officially classified as a date rape drug in so many places, or do you just not consider it date rape if the drug you’re pumping into people against their will has other acceptable uses when taken consensually? Rohypnol is sometimes used as an anaesthetic so clearly it’s not a date rape drug! FFS..

“Its was first use in vet medicine”

So, only the first use of a drug need be considered for its potential for abuse? Cool, this means that since it was used in Coca Cola before being made illegal I can take all the cocaine I want!

“oh wait we call in fentanyl but yet it comes from the same plant”

French fries and vodka come from the same plant, so clearly the effect of having them must be the same!

Lis Emslie (profile) says:

I was injected with ketamine in my home. I say my home because I am the sole owner

My 16 year old son woke me up in th middle of the night to talk to someone at Verizon Wireless about making our data plan unlimited. He was trying to sneak out to a party. When i said no, he left the house. I called him and told him to come home or never drive my car again. I then told my boyfriend of 5 years to take the keys from him. The Verizon person told me that my son told him some story about his girlfriend needing to escape a bad home life,he wanted to add a line for her on my account. He walked in the front door denied everything and said,”I’m calling the police you’re having a psychotic break. Which he proceeded to do. I said I’d had enough I was tired and was going to bed. 20 minutes later 4 cop cars arrived. My boyfriend who has no ownership in the house and my son, who also has no ownership in the house told them I was upstairs in my bedroom. I had locked the door to keep both my boyfriend and son form bothering me. The police asked to speak to me. I was in bed in my pajamas. I asked them to wait outside while i got dressed at which point i would talk to them. According to my attorney they had to comply. Instead they knocked toe door in and knocked numerous things off my dresser. I picked up my Bose speaker to put it on the dresser, and they both screamed,”She’s got a weapon!” They both tackled me (1’m 5’7 and weigh 100 and i have MS), and attempted to handcuff me. The cuffs were too big so the police officer asked the paramedic for something He then whispered in my ear that he was injecting with a narcotic to help me relax. He asked the paramedic if she had anymore on the rig and she said no, she’d have to restock at the hospital. I was taped to the stretcher by the wrists and taken to the psych unit where they realeasedme an hour later.

My attorney told me this is a violation of my4th amendment right. Since they didn’t have a warrant and absolutely nothing was going on when they arrived they had to step outside when I asked them. I received 8 shots of ketamine aroundmy wrists.

This is a fairly common practice but extremely underreported as you have to pay to hire an attorney. If you google “police using ketamine”, it was discovered by IAB trying to figure out what the police were doing. It should be outlawed especially since they are making the paramedics do it, while they use the alcohol wipes and directed the paramedics where to inject..

JustMe (profile) says:

Just, no

Coming late to the party. IANAL but sure sounds like using a horse tranq without consent and outside the prescription guidelines would be cause for action against the police officers, the department, the paramedics, and whatever godforsaken shit is happening over at Hennepin Healthcare. I hope every one of those people wins and takes every cent from these killers.

nikki1981 (profile) says:


This happened to me. Forest lake mn 2 weeks after having major stomach surgery and almost dying I had 2 cops not only sit on me with 12 staples in my stomach from my "alleged" surgery. I told the EMS it was in my health care directive to not ever sedate me due to my reaction to sedatives. The officer told the EMS to give it to me anyway. And he flicked it and said "well ur health information isnt here at the time so ur getting the shot." I woke up hours later in the er and I had apnea 14 times

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