(CNN)In videos that show George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis police custody, an officer holding down the Black man’s ankles says, “I just worry about excited delirium or whatever.” Another officer responds: “That’s why we have the ambulance coming.”
But Floyd did not meet any of the 10 criteria used by many to diagnose “excited delirium,” a police surgeon testified later in the murder trial of the second officer, Derek Chauvin. And an independent autopsy found the 46-year-old died during the 2020 encounter of “asphyxiation from sustained pressure” when his neck and back were compressed.
That same year, Elijah McClain was diagnosed with “excited delirium” by paramedics in Aurora, Colorado. McClain was placed in a carotid hold by police and injected with ketamine when paramedics arrived. The medics never checked the 23-year-old Black man’s vital signs, talked to him or touched him before making the diagnosis, a Colorado grand jury found. McClain was declared brain dead three days later.