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AP News Reports On Dozens Of Deaths Due To Injecting Sedatives Into People Restrained By Police 

Demetrio Jackson, a 43-year-old, died after being sedated and restrained by police in response to a trespassing call in Wisconsin. Despite initial medical attention with oxygen, Jackson's condition worsened after he was injected with a sedative, leading to cardiac arrest and his death two weeks later. 

This incident, investigated by The Associated Press, highlights a broader issue where at least 94 people died under similar circumstances from 2012 to 2021. The investigation revealed that this practice, often justified by a controversial medical condition called "excited delirium," disproportionately affected Black individuals, including Jackson, and is based on dubious science.

"They're running around on the streets administering these heavy-duty medications that could be lethal," said Honey Gutzalenko, a nurse whose husband died after he was injected with midazolam in 2021 while restrained by police near San Francisco. "It's just not right."

The sedation of detained individuals, using powerful drugs like ketamine, has become a widespread but contentious method. Critics argue that it is unsafe and often unnecessary, suggesting that it leads to serious side effects and sometimes death, especially when combined with other restraining methods used by police. 

Supporters, however, believe that sedatives can help manage drug-related emergencies and protect emergency responders. Despite the potential benefits, the AP report highlights the fatal risks and the lack of thorough scrutiny over the use of these sedatives, which are sometimes administered without proper assessment of a person's medical history or current state. This practice continues to spark debate over its safety, ethics, and the underlying racial biases in its application.

"A lot of talk took place on chemical sedation because the cops didn't know what to do with these people," recalled John Peters, president of the Institute for the Prevention of In-Custody Deaths, which sponsored the meeting. "Jeff Ho had done some work up in Minnesota. He said, 'Look. I've been using ketamine. It knocks them out quicker.'"

The findings by The Associated Press, documenting the deaths of individuals sedated by police, call for immediate and unequivocal action. This practice, rooted in the flawed concept of "excited delirium" and disproportionately targeting Black communities, is not only a medical overreach but a profound violation of human rights. 

Link: AP News


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