>> "This is describing "excited delirium." People with ED die, rather a lot, whether they are shot (repeatedly), clubbed (think Rodney King and add force to the strikes), wrestled down (bring at least a dozen cops and firefighters) or Tasered. We're not entirely sure why, except that it may have something to do with temperature in the brain. It definitely has something to do with a lot of hard drug use over a long period of time."
> You're joking, right? I mean, I would have though the proximate cause of death in the above circumstances would be the being shot repeatedly / severely beaten parts...
Not joking. Serious as a heart attack. Hitting someone in the legs with a baton doesn't kill them. Unless you hit someone in the head, it's actually rather difficult to kill someone with a baton. Tasers don't kill either, despite the bad press they seem to get (largely because they work.) Certainly wrestling someone down doesn't kill them unless you force them into a position where they cannot breathe. Positional asphyxia and head strikes do show up on autopsies you know.
Excited delirium is a case where someone high on hard drugs, with a heavy drug use history, exhibits severely confused, disoriented and bizarre behavior that started abruptly. This includes hallucinations, tearing off their own clothes, incoherent yelling and screaming, and violence directed at objects such as shiny items and glass.
One reliable medical finding is hyperthermia, where the body's core temperature may be as high as 105 to 113 degrees. In early stages the subject is sweating profusely but later stops sweating (one of the keys of heat stroke).
Naturally 911 is called. When officers try to subdue a person with this set of characteristics, they run into trouble. The person demonstrates enormous strength and is relatively insensitive to pain. The person continues fighting even after being restrained. Often the person dies while being restrained, or during transport.
Progressive police departments are recognizing that ED is a life-threatening medical emergency, sending paramedics and supervisors immediately on first report, and trying to use innovative techniques such as "cuffing under power" to take the subject into custody and then transport to advanced medical care immediately. (That's putting the cuffs on while the subject is being Tased, at some risk of being Tased oneself.)
Field EMS treatment involves transport on the person's side strapped to a backboard, ice packs for cooling, high flow oxygen and airway management. ALS interventions include tranquilizers and IV fluids. More treatments are available at the ER, mostly more drugs to throw off the drugs on board and treat metabolic imbalances.
>> In general though - "Sudden In-Custody Death Syndrome" - Nice one. People in custody keep dying for completely unexplained reasons that have nothing at all to do with police brutality. Must be a syndrome.
Tell it to the Medical Examiners when they do autopsies. Or read some articles and get educated. Yes, it's a controversial subject. But once you've seen someone with ED, and seen what the police had to go through to get the person under control only to have them up and die on you . . .