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NYPD Directs Officers to Use Tasers and Pepper Spray on Individuals…

A recent article by New York Focus highlights that the New York City Police Department is instructing its new officers to use stun guns and pepper spray to subdue individuals experiencing “excited delirium syndrome” characterized by extreme excitement and agitation, increased strength, and lack of fatigue, associated with drug use. However, the medical establishment has disavowed this syndrome, calling it pseudoscientific and vague. The NYPD training materials also link excited delirium with consumption of synthetic marijuana, a correlation that is unfounded according to experts.

The syndrome, popular in the late 2000s, was used to explain deaths in police custody but has been banned in California and taken out of training documents in Colorado. Despite this, New York has not taken any steps to address the issue. The American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association have expressed concerns about the syndrome as a medical diagnosis and as a justification for excessive police force, particularly in cases where Black men die in law enforcement custody.

The concept of the syndrome is attributed to a study of cocaine use from the 1980s and continues to be propagated as a list of vague symptoms that apply to any medical crisis. Despite the disavowal of the syndrome by medical associations, the NYPD continues to train its officers to respond to it with the use of force, leading to concerns over the disproportionate impact on Black people. In addition, excited delirium is linked to the consumption of synthetic marijuana, although there is no medical evidence supporting this claim.

Due to the discredited nature of excited delirium by the medical establishment, methods of response instructed in the NYPD training materials are being held under scrutiny. The NYPD’s reliance on this discredited syndrome raises concerns over the appropriateness and legality of its methods of dealing with individuals experiencing excited delirium, as well as the potential for harm to those affected by these measures.

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