Are Deaths In Police Custody Being Miscategorized As Excited Delirium? | NBC Left Field
Excited Delirium Syndrome is used by police departments all over the country as a sort of "get out of jail free" card Go upstairs and tell them to stop tasing my baby And you hear on the audio that Norman says, "are you going to tase me?" and the response is, "do you want to be tased?" There are preliminary indications that lead us to believe that it may be a case of excited delirium What about the Taser? 100,000 voltage so that had nothing to do it, huh? Excited Delirium a forensic expert later hired by the city of San Antonio said that Norman Cooper died of excited delirium a condition where someone in a highly agitated state can basically drop dead from an adrenalin overdose but here's the thing, excited delirium death often occur in police custody and some major medical associations don't even recognize that as a real condition which which brings us to the death of Norman Cooper What was Norman like? He was always a gentle giant, you know. He was a big guy. When he was born I thought something was wrong with him he's all buffed and I asked the doctor I said, "something wrong with him?" he said "no, you just have a football player." True to form and that's what he was. He and Nate were always close. He's holding Nate there. But of the three children Norman was the most compassionate.
Norman was the most sensitive. After Norman died the Cooper family called lawyers. The Cooper family has filed a civil rights case claiming that his constitutional rights were violated in the manner in which the police treated him. Excited delirium has been used by medical examiners for a number of years, basically when people die in police custody and there is no other way of explaining why they died. That weekend back in 2015, Jennifer and Noble Cooper were out of town and Norman was staying at their place. The family said that Norman arrived to their house around 2:00 a.m. And started pounding on the door for his little brother Nate to let him in.
He was sweating, he it wasn't really at himself he looked like, maybe, he was maybe intoxicated, or something of that nature. According to Nathan, Norman was saying, "you need to be saved that means you need that god save you." Nate is trying to calm him down he realized he can't and he didn't know what else to do, so he calls the police. And then at that particular time they start tasing him as though there was some vicious animal with their He hadn't touched nobody. His only crime was preaching to his brother. That's evil. Norman's autopsy mentions taser like wounds on his body but ultimately blames his death on a cocktail of things: the methamphetamine found in his system, a prolonged struggle, and an enlarged heart. We asked many times to speak with the San Antonio Police Department which gives its officers training on excited delirium but our requests were declined.
We were able to speak to Teresa DeMaio, a nurse who wrote the book on excited delirium with her husband, a Texas medical examiner. She estimates that hundreds of excited delirium deaths are recorded in America each year. History of psychostimulant abuse, psychomotor agitation excitation, violent, combative, belligerent, assault not responding to authorities, verbal commands, psychosis delusional, paranoid, fearful, yelling shouting, guttural sounds. The basically die of a cardiac arrest.
Some people argue that excited delirium is really just an excuse that police officers give when they kill someone in their custody and it's a way of whitewashing murder. Well you know I think those that have proposed that narrative – and I love that word, narrative – usually you hear that coming from the legal community they have vested interest in that. Dr. Brant Miller was asked by the Cooper's lawyer to file an expert report. Excited delirium syndrome is used by police departments all over the country as a sort of "get out of jail free" card.
The main threat of Norman Cooper was that he was six feet tall, weighed 278 pounds, and was black. I mean, can you understand why people think that that may be the term is being used to to cover up some sort of police injustice? There is no color when you autopsy a body. And when someone is called to a scene with a violent person, they're not looking at the color of the individual. They're looking to gain control. I think that the symptoms he was exhibiting – I showed elements of mental illness along with evidence of the effects of a drug like methamphetamine but neither of those two things would be expected to cause cardiac sudden death. Before Taser was even known, they did neck holes to restrain these individuals and they were blamed for blocking the airway by neck hole. Now it's Taser that is the bad boy on the block but the company that makes tasers has often been accused of using excited delirium to cover up death by taser. About a decade ago Taser International started educating cops about excited delirium introducing the diagnosis into courts.
I spoke with a representative of the company which is now called, Axon. He told me that when he reads a news headline something about death and Tasers he gets in touch with the local police department, sends them some literature, some of it about excited delirium. There is no such thing as excited delirium. It's only used when the police does something they are not supposed to do. This is the last time we got together, right there at Cheddars. Do I think this something that they use to get away with killing black people? Yes. You don't tase a white man's son to death, who has not committed any crime but came in to his parents' home.
You don't do that. According to one investigation by the Austin American-Statesman, excited delirium disorder has been used in Texas to account for 50 in custody death since 2005. Most of them of black and Hispanic men. There's nobody really keeping track of excited delirium deaths. There's no national database. It's up to each medical examiner in each American city or town to decide whether to use the diagnosis.
A cause of death like cancer or heart attack, that might not even be real. So if the police officer had not came on the scene at all, will he still be alive?.
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