Evidence 101

EVIDENCE 101...Wherever you go, there you are...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

On The Soapbox of Delirium

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.


Gary's third pottery blog said...

A year or 2 ago an officer here in Ithaca went to arrest a suspect on a warrant who then tried to kill the officer. http://www.wbng.com/closings/85255597.html
The suspect was shot dead. The community was upset at the officer, but dang, the suspect tried to kill somebody! The officer was cleared in the shooting BUT his house, which is around the corner from mine, was firebombed in the middle of the night. The officer's family was luckily not there that night, but they lost the house. I imagine that the suspect's friends did it, but nobody has been charged to my knowledge. The whole thing is fukked from the beginning, but the last person I blame is the officer. Obviously officers cannot just shoot or beat people, but good LORD the position they might themselves in with a violent dirtbag, hmm?

MrGarabaldi said...

It is everywhere..it is the freeloaders vs the producers. The freeloaders will scream and complain and file "ghetto lottery" a.k.a lawsuits against the police, the officers and everybody else. it is a sign of the times that this country is soo polorized that we have become 2 camps instead of a country.

middle child said...

What about tazers or like a "put 'em to sleep" dart?

Momma Fargo said...

Tasers are often used with no effect. Such was the case with the suspect I was invilved with. We don't have sleep darts...bit wouldn't that be fun? lol

Momma Fargo said...

involved....ugh spelling

Angelwithatwist said...

I saw that post yesterday and was livid. Perhaps if the ones who wanna sling accusations were sent to wrestle the crazies they would have a different thought process. GRRr

Bob G. said...

Momma Fargo:
There is surely no "better living through chemistry" when these perps get jacked-up on this crap.

Sadly, it hurts the LEOs even more what with both I.A. working the case AND the potential for "2nd-guessing" on the part of the officers involved.

But, you';re tasked (and paid) to ENFORCE THE LAW..it's that simple.
ANd sometimes, you have to act in the best interest of the community, as well as the safety of the officers, even if it means a perp gets hurt along the way.

Good post and comments.

You roll safe out there.

Anonymous said...

I blame the media. If they weren't so eager to slant stories and point blame for sensationalism, people would start thinking for themselves again and realize THAT individual was dangerous. And, when it's their loved one that dangerous person kills, suddenly the Popo are to blame for not responding fast enough / with enough force. W.T.H.?

Is it wrong for me to feel relieved when a dangerous person dies because they were so hopped up and put up such a fight? Knowing they don't get chance after chance to harm other people anymore is a load off my mind.. and I don't have to pay for their jail time. Everyone has choices. They made theirs; death was certainly a possibility, but they did it anyway.
Sorry. Crap like this just pisses me off.

GunDiva said...

Sheeple, honey. That's all they are. All of those people who want to condemn police officers for doing their job should have to spend a week with them. Not one piddly little ride-along; at least a week. During the full moon. During a graveyard shift. In the ghetto.

Bastards. (the sheeple, not the cops)

Karie Duckworth said...

One of my biggest peeves: the phrase "Officer involved shooting." Let's call it what it is, "Dirt bag induced!" Another one, "edited for time constraint" video's. If they would show the entire thing, maybe less people would complain.--Off My Soapbox-- Prayer's for those involved. :)