Jacksonville Personal Injury Lawyers Want To Know: Excited Delirium Syndrome Or Police Brutality?

Here is Part 2 to the Police Brutality Mystery that Action News Jax has been investigating and personal injury attorneys Jacksonville Florida have blogged on in the past.  Prior to this Blog, Action News Jax focused on Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) excessive use of a Prostraint Chair and their lack of medical treatment for inmates such as Paul Testa, who ultimately died while in the custody of JSO.   Now, the news agency is focusing on how many inmates have died while in custody from a diagnosis of “excited delirium syndrome”, including Paul Testa.  According to Wikipedia, excited delirium is a controversial proposed condition that manifests as a combination of delirium, psychomotor agitation, anxiety, hallucinations, speech disturbances, disorientation, violent and bizarre behavior, insensitivity to pain, elevated body temperature, and superhuman strength.  Excited delirium is sometimes called excited delirium syndrome if it results in sudden death (usually via cardiac or respiratory arrest), an outcome that is sometimes associated with the use of physical control measures, including police restraint. The research done by Actions News Jax find that the diagnosis is used by law enforcement and medical examiners in Jacksonville to explain the deaths of several people in police custody.  Some call it a cover up for police brutality. A Florida Department of Law Enforcement training manual said the signs of excited delirium include unbelievable strength, imperviousness to pain and bizarre behavior.  As Jacksonville personal injury lawyers previously mentioned, Mr. Testa was a schizophrenic inmate and became unresponsive after being Tasered and strapped into a restraint chair at the Duval County jail Dec. 21, 2015.  Testa is one of eight people in Northeast Florida in the past five years to have excited delirium listed as a cause or contributing factor of death.
Amnesty International is one of several human-rights organizations questioning whether excited delirium is a cover-up for police brutality.   It’s a condition only recognized by medical examiners, the American College of Emergency Room Physicians and law enforcement.  The American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association do not recognize excited delirium as a diagnosis. The syndrome is not in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.   According to Amnesty International’s data, 23 percent of excited delirium deaths after police tasering have happened in Florida — more than any other state.
Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office had a time when they removed tasers from their officers amid growing concerns from the public over the weapon’s power.  Of the reported approximately 100 Taser-related casualties since 1999, at the time Sheriff Rutherford said other medical conditions were likely the primary cause of death. He pointed that those fatalities could be attributed to a disorder known as Excited Delirium.  Thus, the Sheriff brought back the tasers and the controversy has returned.
Taser International acknowledged in an email to Action News Jax that excited delirium syndrome is the second leading cause of Taser-related deaths.  FDLE’s lesson outline shows Florida officers are trained that the safest way to handle someone showing signs of excited delirium is to Taser and restrain.  Action News Jax asked JSO Director of Investigations and Homeland Security Ron Lendvay whether it’s appropriate to train officers to restrain if we don’t know whether it makes people with excited delirium more likely to die.  “We do know that restraining individuals leads to the de-escalation of conflict. So absent scientific evidence to the contrary, I think it’s our best move at this point in time,” Lendvay said.  “This is a medical emergency. And if you can’t get the patient under control, how do you get them medical assistance?” asked Mike Bruno, JSO Director of Corrections.  While researchers continue to study how to keep people from dying of excited delirium, officers continue their policy of Taser and restrain.
If you or a loved one has been injured or died as a result of  police brutality, contact us at Edwards & Ragatz for a free consultation: (800)366-1609; locally – (904)399-1609; or through our website www.edwardsragatz.com
http://www.actionnewsjax.com/news/investigates/action-news-jax-investigates-people-dying-of-mysterious-syndrome-in-police-custody/468559622 & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excited_delirium & https://www.jaxdailyrecord.com/showstory.php?Story_id=42827

Leave a Reply