Last night my old department tangled with a domestic violence suspect who fought police and later died in custody, despite CPR efforts from the officers. Of course, you can imagine half the town wants to hang the officers in the town square. Let's not forget, an ever tough cop is plagued with this type of instance mentally. No matter how strong he/she is.
This is not uncommon across the United States to have an incident like this happen in a department or detention facility. I remember a few years ago, a man died on my team. I happened to be across town involved in my own mess of a call. When the man passed away in the hospital the next day, the officers were put on Administrative Leave, pending an investigation by state police. This is standard procedure.
I remember watching those officers with a heavy heart. They did their job properly without excessive force. The case still haunts them to this day. They endured an investigation where they were labeled homicide suspects. They were sued by the family. They were exonerated of all criminal charges, given no reprimand or discipline from the department because they did everything according to policy and the law. They also were cleared of a wrongful death lawsuit.
It took months before they stopped flinching at fight calls or anything that would remotely escalate. It really messed with their psyche. They did recover, but not without consequences. The case still haunts them at the strangest times.
Excited delirium is a medical emergency caused by a drug induced state escalated into a dangerous situation when adrenaline and physical activity increases. Often, the suspect is irrational and physically dangerous, and fights the police or others. When captured, a suspect often stops breathing and/or they go into cardiac arrest. These emergencies can also be elevated if the person has a previous medical condition or heart problems.
I was in a situation where a large man was on PCP and cocaine. He was running around naked and beating people up at random. He could not be reasoned with and we caught him the library. He was tased over and over as he came after officers and firemen. We could not engage in a physical confrontation, because he threw all of us around. It finally got to the point we had to do a tackle with several officers. We knew what we had before we got to the call. Sometimes it isn't so obvious. Especially if loved ones or the suspect is hiding their drug problems or they have a heart condition they don't know about.
In this case, I felt his skin burn like fire and he went limp. Luckily there were about 12 men to help because the suspect was 6-5 and over 350 lbs. I immediately called for the ambulance to come inside and we got him to the hospital in time. It doesn't always end up that fortunate.
It saddens me the town is so ignorant to condemn the officers on Facebook and other social media before an investigation is even complete. It also burns my ass that some people do not care to educate themselves about in-custody deaths. It isn't always the police officers' fault. Most often it has nothing to do with them, except the situation, restraint, and the physical fighting combination with drugs and/or a serious medical condition. And mind you, those people are dangerous. Very.