Taser Epistimology on Trial

At an inquiry into the tasering death of a mentally ill man in Nova Scotia, a clinical psy­chol­o­gist who has been called to testify is taking on the concept of “excited delirium”. Excited delirium is the corporate-​​speak medical diag­nosis that was invented by TASER International to obfus­cate respon­si­bility when yet another person happens to die at roughly the same time as they’re having elec­tricity dis­charged into their body.

Expert at N.S. inquiry chal­lenges notion of excited delirium in man’s death — Canadian Press

The attrac­tive­ness of the term may relate to some of its pro­po­nents having … the sub­jec­tive per­cep­tion that con­ducted energy weapon use and physical, mechan­ical restraint used by law enforce­ment officers deserves to be excluded or absolved as con­tributing in any way to an in-​​custody death,” the report says. “The deceased is iden­ti­fied as the culprit and must have had the con­di­tion of excited delirium.”

Noone tes­ti­fied the term implies those in the throes of excited delirium “had some­thing wrong with them” to begin with. “And if they died, they were going to die anyway. Excited delirium (pro­po­nents) say that people walk around in this state where they could drop at any moment. In my expe­ri­ence, they are not dropping at any moment.”

I love the sound of sanity in a courtroom.

Previously:

The Epistemology of Tasers, Revisited

When Epistemology Kills

Taser Deaths: Define “Contributed”

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