- Meet with CRA Board Reps
- Community Pipeline on the Lurking Ordinance
- Know Your Rights Training
- "Excited Delirium"--Bogus New Way to Cover Deaths in Custody
- Hopped Up Cops? Scientist Develops Caffeinated Donuts
- Your Tax Dollars at Work? Neo-Nazi Rally Organized by FBI Informant
- Indiana Man Forgotten in Jail for 17 Months
MAKE PLANS NOW TO ATTEND THESE EVENTS
Just a quick reminder of some wonderful events coming up in the next few days:
Meet with CRA Board Representatives
Saturday, March 3 at 1:30 p.m.
Walker Church, 3100 16th Ave S, Minneapolis
The Civilian Review Authority (CRA) was created to investigate complaints of police brutality in Minneapolis. It is important that the community provide regular feedback and input to let the CRA know our expectations. CRA board members will be on hand to answer questions and hear your concerns. Refreshments will be served.
Community Pipeline on the Lurking Ordinance
Wednesday, March 7, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Minneapolis Urban League, 2100 Plymouth Ave N, Minneapolis
CUAPB joins several other organizations cosponsoring this community meeting to discuss the repeal of the lurking ordinance. Minneapolis is one of only four cities in the country to have this ordinance (St. Paul is one of the other four). In the past few years, 100% of people arrested under this ordinance have been African American. Over 90% of these cases were dismissed without prosecution--meaning innocent people spend time in jail, at taxpayer expense. Clearly, this ordinance is selectively applied and it is time for it to go! Come learn about this ordinance, the forces supporting it, our plans for repeal and how you can help. Refreshments will be served.
Know Your Rights Training
Saturday, March 10 at 1:30 p.m.
Walker Church, 3100 16th Ave S, Minneapolis
Do you know your rights when dealing with police? PROTECT YOURSELF! Learn what to say (and not say) to a police officer, your rights during traffic stops, street stops, home visits and other encounters with police. Learn your rights regarding regarding searches, ID cards, what to do if arrested, and more.
"EXCITED DELIRIUM"--BOGUS NEW WAY TO COVER DEATHS IN CUSTODY
Lately, seems like almost every time someone dies in custody, police and their buddies in the medical examiner's office claim the death was from "excited delirium." TASER International has been touting this "diagnosis" to explain deaths after tasering. National Public Radio ran a series on this new phenomenon last week. Below is part of their report, followed by a Canadian study and comments by a medical expert that suggest another possible cause of death in these cases.
Excited Delirium Deaths
All Things Considered, February 26, 2007
You may not have heard of it, but police departments and medical examiners are using a new term to explain why some people suddenly die in police custody. It's a controversial diagnosis called excited delirium. But the question for many civil liberties groups is, does it really exist?
The phenomenon can be witnessed in a grainy video shot in 2003 by a dashboard camera in a Cincinnati police car. In it, a patrol car pulls up quickly to the parking lot of a White Castle in Cincinnati. A 350-pound man is seen stumbling around, yelling.
The man is 41-year-old Nathaniel Jones, a father of two who worked in a group home. He argues with two officers. He seems confused; he can't keep his balance. The officers close in. The officers order Jones to get down but they can't seem to catch him. He throws his body at one of the officers. Out come the nightsticks.
They strike him about 40 times. Jones is on the ground when more officers arrive with nightsticks. Jones calls out for his mother. That's the last thing he says.
Jones stops moving. He dies a few minutes later.
The coroner found that Jones did not die from excessive police force but from a number of causes--such as heart failure, obesity, drug use and asphyxiation. He later told reporters that Jones' death could have been the result of something called excited delirium.
Medical Condition Not Recognized
Deborah Mash, a professor of neurology at the University of Miami, describes the symptoms of the condition:
"Someone who's disproportionately large, extremely agitated, threatening violence, talking incoherently, tearing off clothes, and it takes four or five officers to get the attention of that individual and bring him out of harm's way--that's excited delirium."
Mash says the phenomenon came to light in the 1980s, when cocaine burst onto the scene. Most victims have cocaine or drugs in their systems. Jones had smoked cocaine and PCP. Mash says victims become irrational, their body temperatures rise so fast their organs fail, and then they suddenly die.
"It's definitely real," Mash says. "And while we don't know precisely what causes this, we do know it is the result of a neural chemical imbalance in the brain."
But nearly all reported cases of excited delirium involve people who are fighting with police. And that's extremely problematic, says Eric Balaban of the American Civil Liberties Union.
"I know of no reputable medical organization--certainly not the AMA [American Medical Association] or the APA [American Psychological Association]--that recognizes excited delirium as a medical or mental-health condition," Balaban says.
He's right. Excited delirium is not recognized by professional medical associations and you won't find it listed in the chief psychiatric reference book.
Balaban charges that police officials are using the diagnosis "as a means of white-washing what may be excessive use of force and inappropriate use of control techniques by officers during an arrest."
The International Association of Chiefs of Police hasn't accepted the diagnosis, either, saying not enough information is known. But every year, excited delirium is showing up on more and more medical examiners' autopsy reports.
An Overdose of Adrenaline?
According to Dr. Vincent Di Maio, "What these people are dying of is an overdose of adrenaline."
Di Maio was until recently the chief medical examiner for Bexar County, Texas. Di Maio says that he saw three to five cases of excited delirium each year, and that there are probably several hundred cases nationwide.
He says the condition typically arises after officers have wrestled down an uncooperative suspect:
"They bind the feet, and every one stands back and they're panting. And then finally someone says, 'He's not breathing.'"
Di Maio says it is often the very act of resisting that sends people prone to excited delirium over the edge. If they were in a field, alone, running around hysterical, Di Maio says they might still have died. But he says fighting makes death all but certain. And because most people are in public places, not in fields, that means they're usually fighting with the police. Di Maio says civil liberties groups then wrongly blame the officers for the death.
"They buy into this mode that if somebody dies, somebody's got to be responsible," DiMaio says. "Of course, it can't be the person high on coke or meth."
But even with an extensive autopsy, there is no definitive way to prove someone died of excited delirium.
"But if you're talking about police abuse--beating him to death, or hog-tying--the answer is yeah, you can tell the difference," Di Maio says.
Either way, it doesn't matter, says Dawn Edwards of the Ella Baker Center, a police watchdog group in Oakland, Calif. If police take a person into custody, Edwards argues, they need to make sure the person stays alive--whatever the condition of the person's brain or body temperature or their agitated state.
"They want the victim to be looked at as the cause of his or her own death," she says. "The bottom line is that these people are dying at the hands of, or in the custody of, police officers."
Diagnosis is Based on Behavior Alone
Several medical doctors interviewed by NPR said there is a way to calm someone down who has the symptoms that have come to be known as excited delirium. Doctors at the emergency room at the Vanderbilt University hospital in Nashville, Tenn., have tranquilized three people. Their heart rates and body temperatures were soaring. They woke up fine.
But that was in a hospital, with doctors and intravenous drugs. Police officers are not allowed to administer medicine. They have only their nightsticks, Tasers, pepper spray or their own bodies--which may make the situation worse.
Because excited delirium doesn't show up in an autopsy, it is the subject's behavior that determines the diagnosis. And if there aren't any witnesses, only the police can describe what happened.
Videos of excited delirium incidents are rare. And as officers made clear at the end of the tape of Nathaniel Jones' death, police are not always eager to have the cameras on.
In that video, as an ambulance crew straps Jones to a gurney, the officers standing in front of the patrol car ask whether anyone left their onboard video recording devices on.
"I know it's on. I left it on. I turned the mike off," an officer is heard saying.
The officer swears and rushes to his car. He shuts the video off and the tape goes dead. But even with a video, a medical examiner, a dozen witnesses and an autopsy, exactly how and why Nathaniel Jones died still seems to depend on whom you ask.
[Editor's Note: It does seem interesting that the only deaths from "excited delirium" have all been during police encounters. If "excited delirium" is a manifestation of adrenaline overdose, then it seems possible that there would be at least one death of someone at a sporting event or other situation where adrenaline runs high. Virtually all of these "excited delirium" deaths are men--usually Black men. Given that everyone has adrenaline in their bodies, one has to wonder why Black men in custody are the only ones who seem to experience this phenomenon.]
What follows is the abstract of an article on the effect of restraints in deaths attributed by excited delirium. The full article is available at http://www.charlydmiller.com/LIB/1998juneCMAJ.pdf
The abstract is followed by a critique from Charly D. Miller, arguably the country's leading expert on positional asphyxia. For more information, go to http://www.charlydmiller.com/ranewz.html#directory
Unexpected death related to restraint for excited delirium: a retrospective study of deaths in police custody and in the community
Michael S. Pollanen, PhD; David A. Chiasson, MD; James T. Cairns, MD; James G. Young, MD
Background: Some people in states of excited delirium die while in police custody. Emerging evidence suggests that physical restraint in certain positions may contribute to such deaths. In this study the authors determined the frequency of physical restraint among people in a state of excited delirium who died unexpectedly.
Methods: The authors reviewed the records of 21 cases of unexpected death in people with excited delirium, which were investigated by the Office of the Chief Coroner for Ontario between 1988 and 1995. Eyewitness testimony, findings during postmortem examinations, clinical history, toxicological data and other official documents describing the events surrounding the deaths were analysed. Specific reference was made to documented eyewitness testimony of restraint method, body position and use of capsicum oleoresin (pepper) spray. Because cocaine was detected in the blood of some of these people during the postmortem examination, the role of cocaine in excited delirium was examined by comparing the cocaine levels in these cases with levels in 2 control groups: 19 people who died from acute cocaine intoxication and 21 people who had used cocaine shortly before they died but who had died from other causes.
Results: In all 21 cases of unexpected death associated with excited delirium, the deaths were associated with restraint (for violent agitation and hyperactivity), with the person either in a prone position (18 people [86%]) or subjected to pressure on the neck (3 [14%]). All of those who died had suddenly lapsed into tranquility shortly after being restrained. The excited delirium was caused by a psychiatric disorder in 12 people (57%) and by cocaine-induced psychosis in 8 (38%). Eighteen people (86%) were in police custody when they died. Four (19%) had been sprayed with capsicum oleoresin, and heart disease was found in another 4 at autopsy. The blood level of cocaine in those whose excited delirium was cocaine induced was similar to levels found in recreational cocaine users and lower than levels found in people who died from cocaine intoxication.
Interpretation: Restraint may contribute to the death of people in states of excited delirium, and further studies to test this hypothesis are recommended. Meanwhile, law enforcement authorities and others should bear in mind the potential for the unexpected death of people in states of excited delirium who are restrained in the prone position or with a neck hold.
Critique by Charly D. Miller: Of the 21 people studied, 20 were men. I think a study of why women seem much less likely to experience "excited delirium" (or to be forcefully prone-restrained) should be done.
None of these people were "hobbled." 18 were placed in forceful-prone-restraint, 3 were restrained by "pressure applied to the neck." Only 8 of the 18 prone-restrained individuals were documented as having been subjected to "chest compression from the body weight of the 1 to 5 people restraining them." However, you must recognize that even though such compression was not reported, that doesn't mean chest compression didn't occur in the other cases. It only means that it wasn't "documented," or admitted to, in the other cases.
What I find important about the "drug-induced" aspects examined in this study: Cocaine (and benzoylecgonine) was present in a minority of the subjects studied--only 8 of the 21 people (38%) had cocaine on board. The majority of study subjects had NON-DRUG-INDUCED excited delirium.
Of the 8 drug-induced subjects, those with cocaine levels had a content "similar to that of recreational users but much lower than that of people who died of cocaine intoxication." "The blood level of benzoylecgonine in people with cocaine-induced excited delirium fell between the levels for recreational users and those who died of cocaine intoxication." In other words, NONE of these 8 individuals had "lethal" levels of a cocaine-related drug on board! Thus, none of their deaths could be attributed to "drug overdose."
My favorite part of this article, is the first line of the "INTERPRETATION" section: "The most striking finding of this study was that all of those who died unexpectedly during or after an episode of excited delirium had been physically restrained."
Some medical examiners (in a blatantly obvious effort to shift the blame for death away from those who applied forceful-prone-restraint to an individual who DIED during same), attempt to argue that "excited delirium" states--alone!--may be responsible for an individual's DEATH. However, I've never read about, nor anecdotally heard of, a single case study that identified someone dying ONLY because they had been running around in the throes of "excited delirium."
Therefore, unless a medical examiner can cite research or case studies identifying "excited delirium" states alone to have been responsible for an individual's DEATH, it is entirely unreasonable and unsupported for "excited delirium" to be identified as a "cause of death." It may be "contributory." But, people do not "die" from "excited delirium" alone.
UH OH--HOPPED UP COPS!
Scientist develops caffeinated doughnuts
DURHAM. N.C. - That cup of coffee just not getting it done anymore? How about a Buzz Donut or a Buzzed Bagel? That's what Doctor Robert Bohannon, a Durham, North Carolina, molecular scientist, has come up with. Bohannon says he's developed a way to add caffeine to baked goods, without the bitter taste of caffeine. Each piece of pastry is the equivalent of about two cups of coffee.
While the product is not on the market yet, Bohannon has approached some heavyweight companies, including Krispy Kreme, Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks about carrying it.
YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK?
Neo-Nazi rally was organized by FBI informant
Henry Pierson Curtis
February 15, 2007
A paid FBI informant was the man behind a neo-Nazi march through the streets of Parramore that stirred up anxiety in Orlando's black community and fears of racial unrest that triggered a major police mobilization.
That revelation came Wednesday in an unrelated federal court hearing and has prompted outrage from black leaders, some of whom demanded an investigation into whether the February 2006 march was, itself, an event staged by law-enforcement agencies.
The FBI would not comment on what it knew about the involvement of its informant, 39-year-old David Gletty of Orlando, in the neo-Nazi event. In court Wednesday, an FBI agent said the bureau has paid its informant at least $20,000 during the past two years.
"Wow," Gletty said when reached by phone late Wednesday. "It is what it is. You were there in court. I can't really go into any detail now."
Orlando City Councilwoman Daisy Lynum, whose district includes the march route west of Interstate 4, said she wants to know who was behind the march, the neo-Nazis or the FBI and other law-enforcement agencies.
"If it was staged, I would feel very uncomfortable and would ask for a full-scale investigation," Lynum said. "To come into a predominantly black community which could have resulted in great harm to the black community? I would hate to be part of a game. It's a mockery to the community for someone else to be playing a game with the community."
Others applauded the FBI's infiltration of the neo-Nazis.
"It's one of the largest extremist groups in the country, and Gletty was one of the most visible individuals in the National Socialist Movement," said Andy Rosenkranz, state regional director for the Anti- Defamation League. "Generally, the FBI and the JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force) in Florida does an excellent job."
Rally puts city in spotlight
Orlando drew national attention when the city granted a permit to Gletty so a minimum of 100 white supremacists and National Socialist Movement members could march Feb. 25 through the historically black Parramore neighborhood.
Wearing swastikas and holding signs declaring "White Pride," the 22 neo-Nazis who turned out were protected from 500 counterprotesters by about 300 police officers.
Gletty's secret life became public Wednesday in a federal court hearing resulting from the arrest last week of two suspected white supremacists on charges of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine.
Last Thursday, the FBI arrested Tom Martin, 23, and John Rock, 35, after Gletty wore a wire to a meeting and agreed to help them rob a drug dealer in Casselberry, according to testimony.
Rock told Gletty in a tape-recorded conversation that he and Martin had robbed seven drug dealers by posing as law-enforcement officers, according to testimony. Martin and Rock remain held without bail in the Seminole County Jail.
Slip-up lets name out of bag
Throughout most of the hearing, Gletty was referred to as "Mr. X" or "CW" (cooperating witness). His identity was revealed when Assistant Federal Public Defender Peter W. Kenny repeatedly slipped up and mentioned Gletty's full name.
FBI agent Kevin Farrington and a federal prosecutor were clearly uncomfortable with the disclosure of the informant's name in open court.
Questioned about Gletty's role in the march, Farrington testified that "he participated in it. He did not organize it. . . . [That's] pretty good firsthand information, sir."
The city parade permit, however, lists Gletty as the "on scene event manager."
And pictures of Gletty addressing marchers sporting swastika armbands for the Orlando rally appear on a neo-Nazi Web site. Captions from other photos on the site mock the counterdemonstrators and the police presence.
On another Web site, Gletty details his role in organizing the Orlando event and hosting a victory party afterward.
"On 1/17/06 I got the permits and started the ball rolling," he writes. "On 2/25/06 at 3 pm on saturday [sic] in downtown Orlando My crew and I got it done."
In another part of the posting, he writes: "Since I was the permit holder I was the person to deal with the police and had over-all authority of the event."
No word from FBI
FBI officials did not return calls asking for specifics about the agency's relationship with Gletty. A tree-trimmer in Orlando, he withdrew from the National Socialist Movement last fall to pursue other projects, Farrington testified.
Indiana man forgotten in jail for 17 months
Feb 23, 2007
CROWN POINT, Ind. Officials are at a loss to explain how they allowed a homeless, mentally ill man accused of stealing a soda to languish in jail for 17 months.
Edward Perez's attorney, his court-appointed psychiatrist, the judge in his case and Lake County jail officials all apparently believed he had been released a year ago.
The mistake wasn't discovered until this month, after a new warden ordered a review of all inmates' files, Sheriff Roy Dominguez told the Post-Tribune of Merrillville for a story Friday.
"This is very unfortunate," Judge Sheila Moss said. "This is a guy who apparently needed services, and he should have been somewhere where he could get that, rather than sitting in our county jail, which is already overcrowded.''
The jail released Perez and transferred him to a mental health clinic Feb. 7, Dominguez said.
Perez had stayed in the jail's medical wing since July 2, 2005, after allegedly stealing a bottle of Pepsi from a Wal-Mart in Schererville, Dominguez said.
A police report that referred to the man as "Edward Hammer-Perez" said that before stealing the soda, he said he had just gotten out of jail and wanted to go back. He listed the state psychiatric hospital in Logansport as his address.
In February 2006, the psychiatrist went to the jail to evaluate Perez only to be told he already had been released, Moss said. The judge said that after the psychiatrist informed her, she deferred to defense attorney Fred Flores, who agreed that his client was not behind bars.
Moss, noting that Perez appeared in some records as "Edward Hammer-Perez," speculated he might have been jailed under a different name than appeared on his court file.
Telephone messages left by The Associated Press seeking comment from Flores and the sheriff's department were not immediately returned Friday. An employee at the clinic where Perez was taken said officials authorized to comment were unavailable until Monday.
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