The Fifth Killer

Police and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) deal with a lot of people in crisis – including various medical crises, exacerbated or caused by drugs, alcohol, mental illness, or physical pathologies.

Combining the stress of a contact with police, the medical episode and other contributing factors can cause all sorts of problems, some of them potentially fatal:

  • Excited Delirium – a physical condition involving, essentially, the brain and body speeding out of control. It sounds fun – I thought I was in an excited delirium when I met the Bangles. But no, it’s deadly serious.
  • Positional Asphyxia – where someone is in, or is being restrained in, a position where they can’t breathe – frequently because their chest is constrained from moving. When combined with the other effects of high stress, the blood becomes “acidotic“, which can quickly lead to cardiac arrest.

A standard method of dealing with Excited Delirium and Positional Asphyxia, while detaining and maintaining physical control over someone, is to turn them on their side. It’s easy enough, relatively, to maintain physical control – but their chest can expand, their diaphragm can expand and contract the lungs which, with someone in crisis, helps bring down the blood acids that lead to Acidosis, lowering the risk of cardiac arrest.

Or at least, that was what the Minneapolis Police Department was taught by Hennepin EMS, the paramedic service for Hennepin County, which helped train Minneapolis cops in basic first aid and other medical techniques used to stabilize people in crisis, even when they needed to be detained an controlled.

And for cases where more intervention is needed, some paramedics use a drug called ketamine. it’s a sedative, used in operating rooms for starting general anaesthesia – but it works just fine for sedating someone in a crisis, letting them breathe and recover while de-stressing, physically as well as mentally. Hennepin EMS was the first paramedic agency in the country to use Ketamin to sedate people in medical emergencied, along with about a third of all EMS agencies in the US. It’s a “very safe drug that works quicker [in his experience] than anything else”, says my source.

But – says my source – the article, the inevitable raft of subsequent lawsuits and regulatory investigations resulted, in my source’s words, in some EMS medics “…being spooked. As an agency, we were less likely to administer optimal treatments.”

It’s also a component in some “date rape” drugs – which we’ll come back to.

Hennepin EMS trained Minneapolis cops – and used Ketamine to de-escalate medical crises.

That is, until just about two years ago.

That’s when a story came out in the Star Tribune, by Andy Mannix, entitled “At urging of Minneapolis police, Hennepin EMS workers subdued dozens with a powerful sedative“.

A source formerly located in Hennepin EMS, speaking on condition of anonymity, tells me the Mannix article got pretty much every substantive fact about the use of Ketamine wrong (“He spelled Hennepin right”, my source quipped).

But the damage was…well, not done. It began. Minneapolis broke its training arrangement with Hennepin EMS, and stopped the use of ketamine.

Breathing: Fast forward to Memorial Day, 2020, and the infamous encounter outside Cup Foods in South Minneaoplis.

The New York Times put together what my source calls an excellent video on the killing – including some camera angles and audio I hadn’t encountered before. My source says the Times did an “outstanding job”.

It’s distressing, but worth a watch.

And as you do, notice – Floyd was clearly having a medical emergency. He was a big guy, so having his wrists cuffed already restricted his breathing. His claustrophobia was self-stated – but as a 6’5 guy (Floyd was 6’6) the thought of being wedged into one of those passive-aggressively cramped little police cruisers makes me a little panicky all by itself. Stress on top of medical crisis – strikes one and two.

And then officers Chauvin and Moua arrived, pulled Lloyd out of the back of the car, and commenced kneeling on his neck and back – seriously impairing his breathing.

Some wannabe social media doctors have missed the point, borrowing lessons from Heimlich Maneuver training and claiming that since Floyd could say “I can’t breathe”, he could breathe.

But, my source relates, it wouldn’t matter, if the killer symptom – acidosis, which Floyd was unable to ventilate – was leading to a cardiac arrest.

One of the officers figured it out, asking Officer Chauvin if they might roll Floyd onto his side – which Chauvin rejected, keeping Floyd under his knee until EMS arrived.

By which point Floyd was well past mere “crisis” – unresponsive, apparently acidotic, sliding toward the cardiac arrest that was reported by the EMS when they reached 36th and Park – mere blocks from Cup Foods.

Did a sloppy news story and a subsequent frenzy of litigation and regulation take a vital tool out of paramedics’ toolkits? One that might have prevented George Floyd’s death, and the orgy of misery that it led to?

28 thoughts on “The Fifth Killer

  1. I just checked. Same thing that happened to PFC Santiago in A Few Good Men. The defense should probably re-watch it.

    Having done BJJ/MMA training, if been twisted into a pretzel enough to know that being able to speak doesn’t mean you can breathe.

  2. I will watch the video later, but if he was already cuffed and in the squad car, why was he pulled out?

  3. Mr D. From what I saw, they cuffed him upon leaving his own SUV. They set him against the wall while they talked to the other 2 people in the vehicle. The video ends with them escorting him across the street to an MPD squad.

    The next video picks up with Floyd in the ground. We won’t know what happened in that time gap until the body cam recordings are released.

    Funny…SJW’s are usually screaming for body cam footage by now, but *crickets*.

    Maybe someone told them it’s not gonna help Floyd.

  4. FWIW, I’m hoping not to be put in the position of defending cops. But I’ll go where the facts lead.

  5. This post seeks not to “Defend cops” (or attack them), but to slay the Strib’s reporting, and the Henco/Mpls government’s hysteria.

  6. Maybe someone told them it’s not gonna help Floyd.

    Well, nothing’s gonna help Floyd at this point. I took a few minutes to watch the video. There’s something that smells bad about this, especially what Chauvin did. Based on what I could tell, Floyd was not a threat when Chauvin came on the scene, but Chauvin really ramped things up. There was some early reporting that Floyd and Chauvin worked security for the same night club and may have known each other. Maybe that’s not accurate, but it makes me wonder if Chauvin had another agenda.

  7. Let’s get to know Mr. George Floyd

    Moved to Minneapolis in 2014 after being released from prison in Houston, Texas following an arrest for aggravated robbery.

    He plead guilty to entering a woman’s home, pointing a gun at her stomach and searching the home for drugs and money.

    Mr. Floyd was sentenced to 10 months in jail for having less than one gram of cocaine in a December 2005 arrest

    Mr. Floyd had previously been sentenced to eight months for the same offense, stemming from an October 2002 arrest.

    Mr. Floyd was arrested in 2002 for criminal trespassing and served 30 days in jail.

    Mr Floyd had another stint for a theft in August 1998.

    When Mr. Floyd came to MN. He left behind a wife and a daughter. At the time of his death he was living with a 32 year old white woman who has not given a statement.

  8. When arrested in MN for passing counterfeit currency, Mr. Floyd was under the influence of both Fentanyl and methamphetamines.

    Mr. Floyd is a national hero.

  9. $10 says there will be a George Floyd holiday by next year.

  10. Chauvin will walk. Imagine his defense attorney bringing up expert witness after expert witness explaining that the knee to the neck was acceptable procedure when trying to restrain a physically powerful detainee.
    I think that this resembles the Ferguson Missouri mess, another “civil rights” crisis induced by our idiot media.
    When I was in my 20s, I was a working class, harley-riding kid living in Minneapolis & then West Saint Paul. I had a target on my back as far as the local cops were concerned.
    The lesson I learned was to keep my nose clean, and never, ever, get involved with the cops. Do anything you have to do, to avoid talking to a cop.
    I feel for George Floyd. We are all made in God’s image. He didn’t deserve to die any more than the cops who arrested him. But he screwed up, again and again. He never learned the lesson that to stay healthy and free, you need to do whatever you have to do to avoid ANY interaction with law enforcement.

  11. Larry Elder just tweeted out, do you know how many unarmed blacks were killed by the police last year?? Any guesses??

    Nine…. Unarmed whites killed by the police last year? Nineteen….

    These kinds of stats and Larry is really in the know on this, are just stunning and while it is terrible if there is even one death, it gives some perspective.

    He’s got a lot of little details like this at his twitter account for those interested.

  12. One story:
    It’s 1987, and I leave my GF’s house after dark, riding the Harley solo. Stone cold sober. A cop pulls me over where Lexington crosses over 694. Cop takes my license and I’m waiting for him to run it. Another cop shows up. Then another. Then another.
    Now there are four cops with their lights all going. I am being cool, having a smoke. Cop who pulled me over comes back to me. All they’ve done is run my license & registration.
    Then among all these flashing lights a southbound sedan slows down on Lexington and stops to make a left onto the frontage road. Behind him is a pickup truck, and the guy driving it is so freaked out by all the flashing cop lights, he doesn’t notice the sedan in front of him has stopped. He plows into it at about 50 MPH without even the squeak of his brakes. There is much sound of breaking metal, kinetic energy is exchanged, and both the sedan and the pickup end up in the ditch.
    Cop who pulls me over looks over his shoulder when he hears the crash, then turns back to me, hands me my DL, and says, deadpan, “You can go now.”

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  14. Civil Suit, wrongful death, this is what I’ve pondered, can MPLS lose a whole lot of $$ over this? To me, it seems so. Imagine, the City of Minneapolis, the liberal city of, defending themselves against this lawsuit. Wow.

  15. In the not-too-distant-future:
    “And now on News Nine, Kelsie Schmidt has a live report from the scene of civil unrest along downtown’s George Floyd memorial parkway . . .”

  16. re: Mitch invoking Bob Collins name while attempting to s ore an interview with MPR.

    Bad idea.

    If you’re in the Republican Party, you are a Nazi.
    The Republican Party is the Nazi Party. Just a different name.
    Republican politicians are Nazis. Every. Single. One
    End of story
    Another reprobate comes completely unglued when freed from the necessity of maintaining a patina of sanity to hold a job.

    Many such cases.

  17. MP, you’re correct, of course. George Floyd Memorial Parkway will be another one of those streets you turn onto mistakenly, take one look, say “ooo shit”, lock the doors and press the pedal to the floor.

  18. In Hoover, Alabama — 50 police officers in full military garb were sent to a park to deal with the heinous and unprecedented threat of…15 high schoolers sitting on the ground peacefully with signs.

    (And yes, naturally, they did all get taken into custody for curfew violation)

    One of those kids could have murdered an officer with a hacky sack at any moment.

  19. Far be it for me to debate your EMS source, but I have a few comments about acidosis and positional asphyxia. When oxygen levels fall, for whatever reason, the human body switches to anaerobic metabolism (without oxygen) and lactic acid begins to accumulate in the blood. There exists a natural buffering system (bicarbonate) to modify the drop in pH but that has its limits. To blame acidosis for death begs the question, because any process that impairs circulation will lead to low oxygen levels and subsequent acidosis. If the process happens to be a heart attack where the left ventricle isn’t pumping blood, that’s the primary cause. Acidosis ensues. It’s not the other way round. As far as positional asphyxia goes, its relation to restraint holds isn’t clear cut. I just read an abstract of a study published in “The Annals of Emergency Medicine” that attempted to test the theory. While there was a significant reduction of lung function during the restraint, it was not enough to produce anything close to life threatening metabolic derangement. For anyone interested, Nov 1 1997, Volume 30 Issue 5. Science is never settled. I do recall reading about a young man who died of apparent positional asphyxia when he fell into the back compartment of a min-van and was unable to escape. It took awhile, but he died. That was more from chest compression. I suspect in his panicked state he wore himself out and slid into an even worse position.
    My point is, while the cops’ inappropriate restraint and slowness in recognizing that Floyd wasn’t faking (and I know that ruse isn’t rare) contributed to his death, I’m doubtful a Murder 2 conviction is attainable. How about criminal negligence, assault, etc? And to the rioters and their abettors in government and media I say, there is never any reason to excuse looting, burning or obstruction of roads.

  20. How many buildings have been torched in Alabama? Oh, right….none.

  21. 2 people killed in Iowa, that African American woman, attractive and I don’t know who else…the protest was in a Walmart parking lot. Davenport.

  22. That 5th Avenue in NYC is suppose to be a very elegant part of the city and that got trashed, Sach’s 5th Ave. surrounding the building with barb wire. So, thank the commie-crats for this.

  23. Yellowbike, Kangs and Qweens deserve Louis Vuitton accessories. The French been keeping the black foks down forever.

    Besides, handbags were invented in Wakanda. Enuf of this cultural appropriation.

  24. Lawofficerdotcom , note Moody, Alabama, Sgt Stephen WIlliams was killed, this happened at a Super 8 motel, so still reading about this.

  25. Swiftee wrote:
    . . .
    Besides, handbags were invented in Wakanda. Enuf of this cultural appropriation.

    Always wonder why the geniuses on the other side didn’t see the fascism in this “Wakanda” fantasy. One of the hallmarks of fascism is the forging of mythical history that explains A) why your people are superior and B) how the world has conspired against your people to put them in a weak, “unnatural” position.

  26. You know, it strikes me that by failing to realize that George Floyd was cuffed and wasn’t going anywhere–and hence they didn’t need to get him into the squad car “NOW”–the police missed an excellent opportunity to learn where he’d gotten that fake note, who’d made it, and break up a counterfeiting ring that likely was netting millions.

    Let’s be real here; making fake money is complicated business, generally beyond the ability of men “starting anew”. So either it was a really obvious fake he’d made, or the police missed a chance to figure out where that fake bill came from. Oopsie.

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