Law Enforcement Training: People Saying 'I Can't Breathe' Are Just Suffering From 'Excited Delirium'

from the dying-in-custody-is-just-a-tragic-side-effect-of-being-previously-alive dept

I am worried about excited delirium or whatever.”

– Officer Thomas Lane to Officer Derek Chauvin as Officer Chauvin killed George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Police officers are not “worried” about “excited delirium.” This supposed mental health condition — which isn’t recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, American Medical Association, or the World Health association — exists mainly to exonerate police officers who have subdued an arrestee to death. A majority of people who die from “excited delirium” do so in police custody.

Dr. Michael Freeman, a professor of forensic medicine at Maastricht University in the Netherlands has been researching this law enforcement-centered cause of death.

Freeman’s research team currently has a paper in the process of being published that reviews scientific studies comparing excited delirium with cases of agitated delirium syndrome — a medical diagnosis that gets applied more by doctors treating a person who lived, while excited delirium is primarily used by forensic pathologists examining a person who died.

While both syndromes present with roughly the same symptoms, Freeman’s team found that restraint was used in 90 percent of the cases that turned out to be fatal. Only 2 percent of fatal cases involved no restraints. (The rest were unknown.) Forceful restraints such as manhandling or hog-tying were also significantly more likely in fatal cases.

It’s not the “excited delirium” that kills people. It’s the force deployed by officers. And when those officers need to be cleared for their excessive force use, “excited delirium” is there to take the blame.

The officer mentioning it during the George Floyd killing shows how much “excited delirium” has become an exonerative mantra for law enforcement — just like the chanting of “stop resisting” to excuse the continued assault of an unresisting arrestee.

Training materials obtained by Mitch Kotler from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department show how officers are being given a ready excuse to use for in-custody deaths. The PowerPoint presentation [PDF] stretches the definition of “excited delirium” to cover nearly any abnormal behavior officers might encounter, as well as excuse nearly any use of force deployed in response.

There are six slides listing “symptoms” of excited delirium, which includes everything from dilated pupils to “easily distracted” to “extreme agitation” to muscle rigidity. On the fifth slide, there’s this supposed symptom:

Says “I can’t breathe”, “I’m dying”, “You’re killing me.”

Well, that’s super-handy, considering how many people who’ve told officers they can’t breathe soon stop breathing. And of this expansive list of so-called “behaviors,” George Floyd only exhibited this one: telling officers he couldn’t breathe. This sign of distress was ignored by Officer Derek Chauvin until Floyd stopped breathing.

As if six pages of catch-all mental illness symptoms wasn’t enough to create an aura of excited delirium around anyone not acting “normal,” the presentation then throws in a handful of drugs and the suggestion that literally any genetic variation can make any non-cop a potential sufferer of excited delirium.

Cocaine
Methamphetamine
Alcohol
Mental Disease
Genetics (Polymorphism)

Once the presentation has finished delivering a list of ways to turn arrestees into excited delirium sufferers, it then tells officers how they can use this broadly-defined health condition to excuse excessive force deployment.

Excited Delirium deaths have historically been blamed on:

Taser
OC [oleoresin capsicum, a.k.a. pepper spray]
Positional Asphyxia
Pressure on thorax (back)

There’s a reason Taser is listed first. Taser (now Axon) has pushed for coroners and law enforcement agencies to use this term for in-custody deaths rather than something more descriptive and accurate like, say, “electrocuted.” Taser has sued coroners who have declared Taser use to be a contributor to someone’s death. And when it wasn’t suing coroners and medical examiners, it was trying to intimidate them into retracting or altering reports.

Several coroners have also reported being challenged by Taser, says Jentzen. Among them was a Cook County, Ill., medical examiner who ruled Taser shocks contributed to the death of a 54-year-old man in 2005. Taser dismissed the autopsy report as not credible and said the medical examiner was unqualified. The company demanded a judicial review.

Taser also has asked coroners to reverse opinions. An Anderson, S.C., deputy coroner said Taser representatives showed up in his office on the same day that he ruled Taser shocks contributed to a man’s death in 2004.

Taser had its own theory about in-custody deaths linked to Taser use:

Taser advocates an alternative cause-of-death scenario called excited delirium. The condition, which is not recognized as a diagnosis in official medical manuals, is used to describe deaths of suspects who become so agitated by drugs, psychosis or poor health that their bodies shut down during struggles with police.

Years later, Taser’s concerted effort to avoid wrongful death suits has paid off. Law enforcement agencies have bought into the “excited delirium” narrative and turned it into a key part of police culture. It’s a built-in excuse that’s backed by very little science — a mental health condition that seems to be triggered most often by the presence of police officers.

This presentation treats excited delirium as two things it can’t possibly be simultaneously: a serious mental health condition to be handled cautiously by officers and a go-to scapegoat for any deaths officers cause while deploying force against people they’ve decided are too deliriously excited to be handled with actual care or concern. Cops see it for what it is. And that’s why cops in the process of killing someone they’re just trying to arrest say things about being “worried” about “excited delirium.” They’ve already been given the script and the motivation for their characters. All they have to do is deliver their lines.

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Comments on “Law Enforcement Training: People Saying 'I Can't Breathe' Are Just Suffering From 'Excited Delirium'”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Random schmuck, of course.

So- called med authorities are the third leading cause of death and have been for years.

The fraudulent Med system is profit driven and has little to do with INTELLIGENCE…. another overused and mis-understood term.

Consider getting a clue, a REAL clue.

Happy hunting.

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Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

You can’t die from someone pressing against the back of your neck, but you can have a heart attack from a fentanyl cocktail overdose

This is false — and both autopsies found that George Floyd died from the police putting pressure on the back of his neck. You are deliberately misreading (or, more likely fed) false and misleading information regarding the second autopsy from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office. That one, contrary to the claims of people who are desperate to say that the police did not kill Floyd, said that they did: That report said that Floyd died of "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression."

That means he died from the compression on his neck by the cops. Don’t have to take it from me, take it from experts: https://www.medpagetoday.com/blogs/working-stiff/86913

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"You are deliberately misreading (or, more likely fed) "

I’ve heard the theory repeated from places like Alex Jones, Breitbart and Free Republic since it happened, so the answer is – yes, he’s just another brainwashed moron repeating what people want him to believe so that he can go on supporting the subjugation and murder of black people.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"You can’t die from someone pressing against the back of your neck…"

Wrong, according to licensed medical practicioners and at least two coroners to study the case.
The fact that you can indeed die from pressure to the neck as applied on a prone person is exactly why the neck choke is, in most countries, a prohibited technique.

In martial arts the chokehold has been banned in competitions for a long time because pressure to the neck can compress the carotid artery, leading to fatalities.

"…but you can have a heart attack from a fentanyl cocktail overdose"

And the person who is suffering a fentanyl overdoes is *not likely to move around unless dragged.

So unless the police officers who murdered Floyd injected him with fentanyl in massive quantities while sitting on him fentanyl is not what killed him.

What’s next, you’ll prove a black man getting shot eight times in the center of the body died due to not taking his meds that morning rather than having a few ounces of lead passing through his lungs and heart? You people from the "alt-right" are beyond pathetic in your exculpation of murderers. At least have the fucking guts to admit the real reason you want Chauvin to walk is because he killed a black man.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"What’s next, you’ll prove a black man getting shot eight times in the center of the body died due to not taking his meds that morning rather than having a few ounces of lead passing through his lungs and heart?"

Well, over the last few days I have seen right-wingers desperately trying to pretend that a man shot 7 times in the back in front of his 3 children (Jacob Blake) absolutely deserved it, so I wouldn’t be surprised…

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"Well, over the last few days I have seen right-wingers desperately trying to pretend that a man shot 7 times in the back in front of his 3 children (Jacob Blake) absolutely deserved it…"

Stabbed in the back by Poe’s Law again, i see. I guess that means I’m still too damn optimistic about the state of humanity inherent in the US right-wing today.

At some point US liberals and democrats will realize that there is no compromise or common ground to be found with the right wing any more, that the time for debate is over. Shit will turn ugly fast.
The most ironic outcome of such a newfound willingness to use force is going to be that most of the democrats and liberals will then be identical to Eisenhower-era republicans.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"Stabbed in the back by Poe’s Law again, i see."

Yep. When I read your words, I wasn’t thinking you were making up a hypothetic examples, I just assumed you were referring to yet another case that I hadn’t read about recently in between all the other atrocities.

Just in case you’re interested about the one I’m referring to, here’s a reasonable summary: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-53914027

The right-wing response has been the usual litany of misrepresenting the guys’ history, lying about the cause of the incident (he was apparently trying to break it up, but they’re trying to pretend he was abusing his own family) and anything else not captured on camera, combing through the video to see if they can find anything that looks vaguely like a weapon, and even dredging up old Halloween photos where he has a plastic knife that looks vaguely like one of the shadows they claim to see.

Anything other than accepting that yet another unarmed black man has been shot for little cause other than the fact that US police choose to shoot instead of de-escalate.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Added to the toxic combination of denial that there is a problem and a complete refusal, by the body politic, to address it…I’m pretty sure this shit-show will remain the scourge of this generation for some time to come.

The two extreme sides are so intermingled geographically that a civil war v 2.0 isn’t feasible, or it might already have begun by now. Doesn’t help that Trump would probably love to try being a "wartime" president, even if he’d have to order his troops against his own citizens to find himself that war.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"I just assumed you were referring to yet another case that I hadn’t read about recently in between all the other atrocities."

There are plenty of examples; Stephon Clark, Rayshard Brooks, Walter Scott…Blake’s just the latest case of a long, long list of law enforcement officers shooting a person in the back for, as it turns out, no discernible reason.

"The right-wing response has been the usual litany of misrepresenting the guys’ history, lying about the cause of the incident…"

Naturally. They already have their own conclusion of the story – "Some upstandin’ policeman shot hisself anotha niggah! Huzzah!" – and are, religious fanatics that they are, just looking to change the narrative to produce the result that rather than heinous murder the act was a righteous blow for Truth And Justice.

"Anything other than accepting that yet another unarmed black man has been shot for little cause other than the fact that US police choose to shoot instead of de-escalate."

I’m inclined to think that they do indeed realize that an unarmed black man was shot for no reason and would, deep down, love to see more of that, but that they still feel the need to fool themselves into thinking that there was justification for it, and that’s why they keep getting so upset and hostile when confronted with the actual facts.

I mean there must be some reason why people who take such obvious delight in seeing ethnic minorities gunned down would still try to fend off accusations of racism. Almost as if they understand at some level that being a bigot is a bad thing and they refuse to accept that about themselves.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Or maaaaybe they’re delirious due to the lack of oxygen from being murdered…"

Or some shameless LEO eager to exculpate himself from killing a few too many hobos in jail got confused about "autoerotic asphyxiation" and "choking people to death".

I wouldn’t put it past the broken logic of the murder apologists in the alt-right to next claim the neck choke is the LEO way of showing just how much they love the community they "serve".

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Nope, you still haven’t narrowed it down any with that comment, I still can’t tell if you’re really that stupid or just pretending to be, but given your response I don’t suppose it matters as you’ve shown yourself to be a waste of time regardless.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"I still can’t tell if you’re really that stupid or just pretending to be"

I’m of the opinion that if you can’t tell, you just assume they are that stupid. If their life is so worthless that they pretend to be an idiot for entertainment, they deserve less respect than if they were a genuine moron.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I suspect trolling, but calling the question stupid is, at best, rather ignorant (as in lacking in knowledge, rather than social graces). Anyone who has taken a first aid course that covers the Heimlich maneuver will have been told "ask the victim if he/she can breath". If the person can answer audibly DO NOT attempt a heimlich. So long as the choking victim can make audile sound, the victim is in greater danger from the heimlich that asphyxiation. It is entirely possible that (likely, even, if he was able to speak audibly) that George Floyd was not actually choking to death at that point, It doesn’t mean that a change in the restraint didn’t close his airways at some later point, or that he didn’t actually die from another restraint-related problem (like restricted/prevented blood flow to the brain), but at the point when he said "I can’t breath" he probably wasn’t in immediate mortal peril. You seem to be ignoring that genuine possibility every bit as much as alt-righters seem to be ignoring the possibility that some small change in the restraint (or George’s ability to resist being forced into the ground, due to exhaustion) may have fully closed his airway and been the actual cause of death.

When it is so easy to be so much better than the alt-right, why do you choose to be just as bad?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

When it is so easy to be so much better than the alt-right, why do you choose to be just as bad?

Perhaps you should ask them. They lowered the bar.

The question is stupid. Because with all their hand-wringing, George Floyd is still fucking dead. And debating as to whether he was saying "I can’t breathe" meant that he actually could breathe, then by the same logic HE SHOULDN’T FUCKING BE DEAD.

Let me ask the simple-minded chucklefucks here still debating this useless point – when should he have said he couldn’t breathe?

After he couldn’t breathe? By your logic, how in the fucking fuck was he supposed to do it, considering he wouldn’t have the oxygen?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"They started it" is childish and unworthy of anyone who graduated kindergarted. Grow up.

I didn’t ask why the alt-right are so stupidly obnoxious (something that I freely admit totally baffles me). I asked why you chose to be the same. That is something that they have no control over and was totally your choice. If an alt-righter sucker punched you in a bar and a week later you returned the favour, who would be guilty of criminal assault? Hint: both of you. The fact that he hit you first is legally and morally irrelevant. If the only way to protect legitimately something of great value to you (your life, your child’s safety, your home) is to sink to someone else’s level, I would say it’s justified. But someone mouthing off stupid and obnoxious things on social media is no excuse to do the same. Should they be confronted, hopefully educated and enlightened? Absolutely. Will responding with equal stupidity and name calling do that? No, Absolutely not.

Now as for the words that you are trying to put in my mouth and the "logic" that you are falsely ascribing to me, the "correct" time for George to speak up was when he did – and I never said or implied otherwise. That the LEO ignored him and did nothing after he padded out is dispicable and at the very least in a just society that LEO would be appropriately punished (to the same level as a "civilian" would be punished for the same deed). I personally think that the other officers who were aware of what was happening and could have intervened should lose their badges, as they are manifestly unfit to carry them. Others may disagree.

Please stop your unworthy straw-man argumentation and name-calling. You can do far better. And please remember that when you throw yourself into the mud, you drag Techdirt down with you. If nothing else will persuade you, consider that by setting such a poor example, you are doing the alt-right’s job for them. They don’t deserve such help.

Finally for and example or how an adult points out their disagreement with someone, see the next reply to my original post.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"They started it" is childish and unworthy of anyone who graduated kindergarted. Grow up.

How’s that "when they go low, we go high" worked out so far?

That is something that they have no control over and was totally your choice.

Uh-huh. So then essentially, they ARE too stupid to know any better. Which exactly confirms what I said.

The fact that he hit you first is legally and morally irrelevant.

How interesting. So I should have no fear that he would continue to hit me should I choose not to defend myself? Brilliant.

Should they be confronted, hopefully educated and enlightened? Absolutely.

Again, how’s the working out?

Now as for the words that you are trying to put in my mouth and the "logic" that you are falsely ascribing to me, the "correct" time for George to speak up was when he did – and I never said or implied otherwise

And yet:

It is entirely possible that (likely, even, if he was able to speak audibly) that George Floyd was not actually choking to death at that point

but at the point when he said "I can’t breath" he probably wasn’t in immediate mortal peril

So no choking or mortal peril. Must be those words mean something different to an enlightened adult such as yourself.

Finally for and example or how an adult points out their disagreement with someone, see the next reply to my original post.

Well, congratulations on your adultinig. One would only hope if someone is saying they can’t breathe, you’re not the moron standing there analyzing that as a non sequitir.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

How’s that "when they go low, we go high" worked out so far?

The idea behind the philosophy of "be the better person" is noble. The problem is, the philosophy is entirely dependent on people willing to take the bait for that shit and assume a sense of guilt is enough to convince others to "be the better person".

And over time, being the better person hasn’t just been turned into schmuck bait; it’s been utterly, thoroughly devalued. Parables on forgiveness have been reduced into exhortations to move on and forget while the same unreasonable behavior is enabled. Adversity is championed as a character-building exercise while the status quo is protected. Let’s be honest – if you were given the privilege to beat somebody up and demand that they jump, the only response they could give was "How high?", and no meaningful consequence resulted for you, what reason would you have to stop?

"One reason why our society has failed to curb bullying is that we like bullies. Hell, we are bullies. Research has shown that bullies are not the anti-social misfits that adults, in their forced amnesia, want them to be. Rather, bullies are usually the most popular boys, second only on the clique-ranking to those described as friendly, outgoing, and self-confident… I don’t know a single useful lesson that I or anyone else ever learned from getting bullied… You have to have never been bullied to think that it teaches something valuable and necessary and makes you a stronger person." – Mark Ames

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

" The problem is, the philosophy is entirely dependent on people willing to take the bait for that shit and assume a sense of guilt is enough to convince others to "be the better person""

Not entirely. To other reason to do it is that with most online conversations, there are many times more casual observers than there are participants in the conversation.Therefore, you argue to ensure that the childish idiots is seen as such and the ideas that he’s trying to convey are discounted. If you also act like a child, observers might be fooled into thinking the original idiot has a point.

I know that I, for one, have learned a lot about certain subjects by watching knowledgeable people tear down a fool with evidence that I can verify later, than I ever have with people joining in on their level.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

‘They started it’ is childish and unworthy of anyone who graduated kindergarten. Grow up."

You’re correct, of course. But yur statement proves you’ve new to Techdirt.

Masnick’s un-American, anti-White Blue Checkmarks and writers aren’t interested in becoming grown men. Presumably this is due to either not knowing their fathers, or their fathers being as effeminate as their mothers. But you can’t always blame it on the parents; perhaps sometimes it’s just a case of defective genetics.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

You start with this:

You’re correct, of course. But yur statement proves you’ve new to Techdirt.

And then go to this:

Masnick’s un-American, anti-White Blue Checkmarks and writers aren’t interested in becoming grown men. Presumably this is due to either not knowing their fathers, or their fathers being as effeminate as their mothers.

Congratulations on not only missing his point, but missing it in the typical, simple minded right-wing nutjob way that has basically fostered said attitudes.

Great job dicktard!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

It’s not surprising. This particular Anon has been trying his best to make "Techdirt blue checkmark" catch on in his attempt to hurt Techdirt feels.

It’s bizarre, because not only have his efforts resulted in the term not catching on, it’s become a useful tool to pick him out as the "Techdirt readers aren’t upvoting me enough" jackass with the self-esteem of a damp, rotten sponge.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

"This particular Anon has been trying his best to make "Techdirt blue checkmark" catch on in his attempt to hurt Techdirt feels."

Which is not only laughably ineffective but nonsensical. The blue checkmark he’s trying to refer to on Twitter is confirmation that a person’s real identity has been confirmed. Nothing more. It’s not approval of the content of the user’s comments, nor protection from consequences. It’s just confirmation that "this is person is who they claim to be".

Him trying to apply it to commenters here is nonsense given that no identities outside of the articles’ authors is ever really know, and he must have an astounding lack of understanding of the terms he’s using to believe that what he writes is meaningful in any way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"They started it" is childish and unworthy of anyone who graduated kindergarted. Grow up.

I didn’t ask why the alt-right are so stupidly obnoxious (something that I freely admit totally baffles me). I asked why you chose to be the same. That is something that they have no control over and was totally your choice. If an alt-righter sucker punched you in a bar and a week later you returned the favour, who would be guilty of criminal assault? Hint: both of you. The fact that he hit you first is legally and morally irrelevant. If the only way to protect legitimately something of great value to you (your life, your child’s safety, your home) is to sink to someone else’s level, I would say it’s justified. But someone mouthing off stupid and obnoxious things on social media is no excuse to do the same. Should they be confronted, hopefully educated and enlightened? Absolutely. Will responding with equal stupidity and name calling do that? No, Absolutely not.

Now as for the words that you are trying to put in my mouth and the "logic" that you are falsely ascribing to me, the "correct" time for George to speak up was when he did – and I never said or implied otherwise. That the LEO ignored him and did nothing after he padded out is dispicable and at the very least in a just society that LEO would be appropriately punished (to the same level as a "civilian" would be punished for the same deed). I personally think that the other officers who were aware of what was happening and could have intervened should lose their badges, as they are manifestly unfit to carry them. Others may disagree.

Please stop your unworthy straw-man argumentation and name-calling. You can do far better. And please remember that when you throw yourself into the mud, you drag Techdirt down with you. If nothing else will persuade you, consider that by setting such a poor example, you are doing the alt-right’s job for them. They don’t deserve such help.

Finally for and example or how an adult points out their disagreement with someone, see the next reply to my original post.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"If an alt-righter sucker punched you in a bar and a week later you returned the favour, who would be guilty of criminal assault? Hint: both of you."

Really? Self defence wouldn’t come into play, or do you just stand there and take it and hope that him and his friends aren’t going to deliver a few more punches? That also doesn’t play elsewhere in the real world. You know what emboldens school bullies? A target that won’t fight back, just takes it and hopes that a teacher comes along to punish the bully (and then hope that a group of bullies aren’t waiting outside of school later). A kid who fights back will usually not become a regular target. Not a guaranteed response, but a lot better than letting the bully think he cam get away with it.

Also, there may or may not be better ways to deal with these people, but I guarantee you they’ve all been tried.

"the "correct" time for George to speak up was when he did"

But, apparently not the right time for him or anyone around him to take physical action against the police who were actively killing him while ignoring his cries for help.

"I personally think that the other officers who were aware of what was happening and could have intervened should lose their badges, as they are manifestly unfit to carry them"

Yes, that would be the minimum people would hope for. Doesn’t do Floyd much good, though.

" And please remember that when you throw yourself into the mud, you drag Techdirt down with you."

That’s a very strange claim. Is it a standard you apply to other sites where commenters state their personal opinions independent of anyone else on the site, or just this one?

"Finally for and example or how an adult points out their disagreement with someone, see the next reply to my original post."

The problem with you lot insisting on commenting anonymously is that I can’t really tell which one that is. Hell, the snowflake system doesn’t allow me to confirm that you’re the same AC the guy you just responded to was replying to.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If the person can answer audibly DO NOT attempt a heimlich. So long as the choking victim can make audile sound, the victim is in greater danger from the heimlich that asphyxiation.

That is advice for lightly trained people, but the casulties ability to respond does not guarantee they are getting enough air, and if they lose consciousness, use the manoeuvrer as they are not.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I suspect trolling, but calling the question stupid is, at best, rather ignorant (as in lacking in knowledge, rather than social graces).

Only if you assume it was being asked honestly, which given their responses to my comment and others wherein they immediately flung out what I’m sure they thought was an insult(‘left winger’) and flat out stated that believing the findings of medical professionals was for suckers it’s pretty much guaranteed that it wasn’t

It is entirely possible that (likely, even, if he was able to speak audibly) that George Floyd was not actually choking to death at that point, It doesn’t mean that a change in the restraint didn’t close his airways at some later point, or that he didn’t actually die from another restraint-related problem (like restricted/prevented blood flow to the brain), but at the point when he said "I can’t breath" he probably wasn’t in immediate mortal peril.

Which wouldn’t particularly matter even I I accept it as true, as even if you assume that at that moment he wasn’t in immediate mortal peril it would still be a fact that the technique being used against him was excessive, dangerous, and could be lethal, all serious problems worth objecting to.

A cop murdered a guy in full view of the public, while there are merits to maybe spending some focus on exactly how so that technique can be clearly and explicitly prohibited someone ‘just asking questions’ about how someone who couldn’t breathe was able to say as such is at best asking a foolish question in my view, if not dishonestly throwing out the same garbage that’s been debunked time and time again and therefore wasting people’s time.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If the person can answer audibly DO NOT attempt a heimlich. So long as the choking victim can make audile sound, the victim is in greater danger from the heimlich that asphyxiation. It is entirely possible that (likely, even, if he was able to speak audibly) that George Floyd was not actually choking to death at that point,

I think you’re missing some theory here.

First, "choking to death" and "able to expel some air" are not mutually exclusive. Your body needs a fair amount of oxygen to survive; it’s entirely possible to be getting some, but not enough.

Second, one major reason that you don’t give abdominal thrusts to choking victims who are still able to cough is that they are able to cough; that is, by coughing, they may be able to dislodge the airway obstruction on their own, using far less force. As you say, that would probably do more damage, so you want to use the body’s intrinsic methods for dealing with choking before resorting to external force.

Finally, the other reason why you don’t give abdominal thrusts to a choking victim who can cough is that they probably won’t be effective. When you cough, you seal your throat, and then try to force air through the seal. It’s normally not a very good seal, so it’s pretty easy to break it, and hopefully carry any obstruction along for the ride. If you try to apply an abdominal thrust at that point, there’s no seal, so you’re just going to be forcing air past the partial obstruction a little faster.

So, what does any of this have to do with Floyd’s death? Nothing, really. Abdominal thrusts wouldn’t have achieved anything, because there was nothing in his throat to dislodge, nor are the reasons that you don’t use them on people with partially obstructed airways relevant to his death, so they’re utterly tangential to the conversation.

You can certainly be of the opinion that someone able to speak is able to get enough air to survive; I would like to note that the person at the scene who had the most insight about whether Floyd was getting enough air to survive seemed to make clear his disagreement with that assessment: first, by stating that he was unable to breathe, and then by dying of asphyxiation.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"…at the point when he said "I can’t breath" he probably wasn’t in immediate mortal peril."

The reason the neck choke is banned in most non-US jurisdictions is twofold; One is due to direct obstruction of the airways. This will cause difficulty to inhale air.

The other reason is that if the head of the victim is unfortunately positioned the knee comes down to pinch off the carotid artery – the same effect many martial arts chokeholds try to accomplish. In that case the actual air passageways may be unobstructed but the victim will faint and rapidly die due to oxygen flow to the brain having been shut off.

Generally speaking any hold involving pressure to the neck and/or throat is as potentially fatal as a gunshot to the head.

"You seem to be ignoring that genuine possibility…"

No. Given the facts above about the lethality of neck/throat-based chokeholds, the fact that exhaling – and thus speaking – is a lot easier to do than inhaling with a full body weight on your torso; the fact that one of the officers checked on Floyd after he went silent and said he had no pulse, after which Chauvin continued the chokehold for another three minutes; The fact that Floyd was already on the ground and handcuffed at the time Chauvin saw fit to administer the chokehold in the first place, and that Floyd did not resist

"When it is so easy to be so much better than the alt-right, why do you choose to be just as bad?"

Read the above summation and tell me again how there are two sides to the above story? That’s bullshit and you know it. Or should.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

exhaling and speaking while doing so is easier than inhaling while a 300lb gorilla is kneeling on your back/neck…

You can squeeze the air out of a balloon, but no matter how strong you are you can’t ‘squeeze’ the air back into the balloon…

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"Whether Democrat or Republican is simply opposite sides of the same shit-stained gold piece."

Not really. Todays democrats are corrupt past both ears, yes, and so are the republicans…
…but the democrats at least aren’t stark, raving, tinfoil-hat, maliciously self-destructive deranged.

The US "right" today is a death cult.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

"Democrat" to these people means the same as "SJW", "socialist" or "communist". They don’t know or care what the terms mean or what the human beings they label actually believe, it’s just a catch-all term for what their cult has informed them is the "other" to be afraid of.

"So every medical doctor, biologist and coroner is, by your logic, a democrat."

Yes. We’re talking about the same people who believe that a worldwide pandemic was engineered to stop Trump being re-elected, or that scientists have invented the events of climate change that we’re seeing in order to get more grant money. People who are more willing to believe the statements of Trump’s favoured demon sperm witch doctor than the actual disease experts they have on staff.

They would absolutely believe that basic medical competence is dependent on political leanings.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"…it’s just a catch-all term for what their cult has informed them is the "other" to be afraid of."

True enough, sadly – and it doesn’t help that the official spokespeople at the RNC are riding that nightmare for all it’s worth.

The official narrative is no longer "we have a difference of opinion" but instead; "Democrats and liberals are EVIL and will deliberately send mass murderers and sex predators to prey on your children and eat your poor parents!".

When one side of the debate has abandoned every last shred of rationality what is left is escalating misery until a civil war brings home the lesson once again that hatred and bigotry are impossible to build a functional society on.
Given that it’s impossible to draw clear battle lines, with enough of people on the "other" side in every state to render any clear-cut declaration of hostilities pointless that misery has a lot of clearance to go before everything breaks.

I don’t see any possibility of americans of taking a step back towards civility and rationality anymore.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

How can someone who has air in their body push that air out and make sound to indicate that they can’t draw any more air into their body?

It’s a magical mystery only understood by the dark magics of left wing self delusion!

(/s if you’re really that dumb)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

To answer the question as posed.
Speaking requires a small outflow of air and the residual amount of air in the lungs (after breathing out) is sufficient to be able to speak for several minutes. Breathing requires a substantial inflow of air which is not possible if the airway (neck) or thorax (chest/back) are constricted. Hence it can be perfectly possible to speak while being suffocated.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Best thing about theories like this is that you can certainly test them.

For example, a police officer comes into an emergency room saying "I can’t breathe"- just have the staff tell them they’re suffering from excited delirium and leave it at that.

When someone asks why they did nothing, point to this policy.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Oh no no no, police never suffer from excited delirium, only those that they interact with. If a cop says that they can’t breathe then that’s a legitimate statement that requires immediate medical attention, however when someone a cop if choking the life from says it they’re clearly experiencing excited delirium and can be safely ignored until they calm down and/or die for mysterious reasons which have nothing to do with the cop’s actions, whichever the cops feels like fits the situation better.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

'Excited delirium' = 'They died but cops are never responsible.'

It’s quite the interesting medical condition that only seems to appear in the presence of a particular profession and nowhere else, you’d think medical conditions serious enough to cause death would be cropping independently of a cop in the area and be recognized as legitimate by medical professionals and groups the world over, but I suppose since cops are never wrong(just ask any of their unions) it’s just a unique ‘allergy’ that members of the general public(some parts of it more than others) experience from time to time.

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Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Special means they wear helmets in the sandbox during recess

Isn’t it poignant that police officers are being trained to recognize a behavioral psychological condition that isn’t recognized by any competent medical authority? Further, that psychological condition has the ability to kill the possessor in a very non psychological manner?

They must have some super natural cognition ability like that that lets them recognize the difference between furtiveness and nervousness, and/or diagnose a psychological condition, in seconds, on the fly, possibly while tackling the subject, or restraining them from behind.

Is that a part of the law enforcement entrance exam? I wonder how they score it (did the subject die)?

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Ignorance isn't just bliss, it's beneficial for a cop

Police departments try to only hire dumb people to be cops. They don’t like their underlings thinking for themselves.

Well, there’s that and there’s also the fact that police officer is one of the few professions out there where the less you know the better off you are thanks to qualified immunity, providing a very real incentive for police departments to hire people who are either really stupid or good at pretending to be so.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Special means they wear helmets in the sandbox during re

It isn’t just the Republicans that are the matter, as Democrats have come out "Tough on Crime" as well (see Kamala Harris).

Unfortunately very few countries seem to recognize that criminals are humans too & thus have rights as laid down by their laws. The poor & underprivileged have been & will always be treated as "less worthy" than others.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Special means they wear helmets in the sandbox during re

"Sure, when a guy is flailing around and trying to reach for a gun…"

In the case we most often discuss here, the guy was prone, handcuffed, and had an officer sitting on his back. And it would be nice if that wasn’t the usual case where cops decided to blame the suspect suddenly dying on a nonexistent apparently magical mental phenomenon no medical doctor or psychologist finds plausible.

Did you have anything other than a straw man tossed past a moved goalpost to add to the debate?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: excited delirium?

Panic is when your life is in danger and are justified in taking measures to defend it.

Excited delirium is when you’re in the tender, snuggly embrace of law enforcement, and have an irrational fear for your life that is in no way justified by any actions the perfectly trustworthy officers are taking that might cut off your airflow.

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anonymous coward says:

News flash, author of article. George Floyd was not murdered. He swallowed 2mg(a lethal dose) of Fentanyl prior (or during) officers approach of his vehicle. He was dying on the spot. Have you not seen the defense of the officers? It’s not alledged that he had a lethal dose of Fentanyl in his system, via the autopsy. He was high as a kite and did the best they could to apprehend him and keep him from escaping arrest. FACT! There was no way the arriving officers knew he was dying from an overdose and their tactics were not the cause of his death. However, the media did spin it that way, and obviously that’s what you are spinning in this article.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The funny thing is even if it wasn’t known what killed him (it is, it was the cop) the explanation they are proposing would require ‘won the lottery while getting struck by lightning’-level timing, as he just so happened to suffer a fatal drug overdose right when he was pinned by a cop via a knee to the neck.

To call that ‘unlikely’ would be an understatement in the ‘the surface of the sun is kinda warm’ range, and yet somehow that’s more likely to some people than him being murdered by a cop, something which both autopsies confirmed.

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

You can believe what you want, but reality doesn’t give a fuck about what you believe. In reality, both autopsies said George Floyd died from being choked to death by the cops. If you’re that desperate to denigrate and demean a Black man because he was killed by the police (because the police would never do something so awful as casually kill an unarmed Black person for a reason such as “refusing to follow police commands”~!), go to a Blue Lives Matter forum and stay there. Your bullshit isn’t welcome here.

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Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yup.

No one, save for a few George Carlin-certified "dumbass motherfuckers" actually believes Floyd wasn’t outright murdered by former officer Chauvin. Not even the alt-right.

But it’s important as hell for any number of vested interests to keep peddling the lie that he did until people start believing it.

Because the alt-righters pushing the lie are just too chicken-shit to admit in public that the thought of a police officer murdering black people makes them come in their pants.

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ECA (profile) says:

AND?? in all this.

has anyone mentioned Giving the Person Artificial respiration??

ARNT the cops Supposed to know HOW to save a life?? Or did thay pass that to another group, so that it takes another 10 min to get an Ambulance??
How many could they have SAVED, and SAVED the City money from killing a suspect.

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Glenn says:

We could just stop hiring mentally unstable criminals as cops and putting weapons into their hands?

Maybe if the so-called "good cops" had a more "we have met the enemy and it is us" attitude, then things would take care of themselves… but that ain’t gonna happen. The "thin blue line" just keeps getting bloodier and bloodier.

It’s time we remind them of who pays their salaries and start taking their toys away.

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Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Unfortunately ‘we’ don’t hire new cops. They do. Worse, ‘we’ don’t get to choose which to get rid of. They do, at least when they get permission from the unions, or get a prosecutor who doesn’t always follow the ‘blue lives matter more than others’ rules.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"We could just stop hiring mentally unstable criminals as cops and putting weapons into their hands?"

It’s not even that simple. The bigger problem is that American police have been armed as if they were a military force, and trained to believe that the public are enemy combatants out to kill them.

There’s evidence that it’s their training by the hands of scum like Dave Grossman is what causes them to react like they do, not necessarily something innate when they decide to sign up.

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TripMN says:

Am I the only one who read that piece and went "shouldn’t Taser be sued for criminal interference with medical examiners?" I don’t know if there are any laws specifically around ME’s, but that is Mafia level tactics to keep their name clean despite the fact their "not-as-lethal" weapons kill people every year.

David says:

Re: Re:

Well, the U.S. is pretty blunt about such things, and the overall balance for "everyone pays his own legal costs" connected with a "free market" in lawyering means that companies with a legal department of their own get nuisance lawsuits at a much cheaper rate than their victims even for surefire losses.

But the connection of corporate funding sources and scientific research in less openly corrupt societies is still anything but pretty, if more subtle.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: "Excited delirium" is a thing.

"Or how do you explain the Republican National Convention?"

Well, at least a few of the speakers appeared to be channeling Hitler, judging by their "Ze Jews"…err, "Liberals will send mass murderers to eat your children!" propaganda.

Less excited delirium than frenzied scapegoating. It’s scary to which extent the rhetoric resembled that of a 1936 german nazi rally.

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restless94110 (profile) says:

Truth

What a great headline! You finally told the truth about things!

Yes, when you are high on fentanyhl and meth you do exhibit ED. When you are OD’ing on fentanyl you truly cannot breathe. When you way 300 pounds over your base weight, have heard disease, and asthma (Errol Garner) and then you resist arrest? And you can’t breathe? Wow. They ED you exhibited was your fault, and always will be. Great headline! Keep up the good work.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Truth

Hopefully, an EMT will see the headline as well. Then if he shows up on scene and it’s you or maybe a loved one saying he/she can’t breathe, the EMT can just sit back and relax, attributing the inability to breathe to excited delirium.

Be careful what you wish for, especially if the EMT is black, and also read the headline.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Truth

"Yes, when you are high on fentanyhl and meth you do exhibit ED."

Floyd was high on neither according to the coroner. To say nothing of the OP’s description of how "Excited Delirium" (which actually doesn’t exist) has been used to describe every asphyxiation through recorded US police history.

I’m not sure why you keep trying to peddle the delusional stormfront echo chamber fairytale of how a police officer sitting on someones neck until they choke to death – and then remain sitting after death has been confirmed just to make sure – can somehow be boiled down to a man apparently dying through sheer magic.

I mean by now you ought to realize the only thing you accomplish is to see your argument debunked and the people peddling it – including you – coming off as racist morons.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Truth

What amuses me about this particular theory is that it doesn’t really change the criticism even if it was true. Oh, so Floyd died of a drug issue rather than the officer choking him? OK, you still have a situation where police officers stood around for 8 minutes watching someone die while restraining him from seeking help, despite begging for aid.

In other words, even if his words were true (and they’re not) all it does is take the officers from outright murdering scum to gleefully watching a man die. That’s not much better…

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Truth

"In other words, even if his words were true (and they’re not) all it does is take the officers from outright murdering scum to gleefully watching a man die. That’s not much better…"

As long as you assume that passively watching someone die is neither criminal nor morally wrong, it is.

But judging from "Restless94110"’s previous comment history it’s far more likely he feels the fact that black people’s lives are protected in law personally upsetting. He’s spent a long time demonstrating he’s a poster child of the sort of people who really need to be told that black lives matter – because their basic assumption is that they don’t.

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