The Salt Lake Tribune (19 June 2009) [LINK]
Brian Cardall's body was lying on the side of the road -- naked and still warm -- when the Hurricane Police Department started working on what a sharp attorney could call a defense.
"Did he come after you?" a cop asked officer Ken Thompson.
"Does he have any drugs? Let's find out. Any narcs, anything like that?"
"He was foaming at the mouth when we got here," Thompson says.
No, Cardall's wife says. No other drugs. Just 400 mg of Seroquel, the medicine he takes for bipolar disorder.
"He went right at you?" someone asks Thompson.
"Huh?" he asks.
"He went right at you?"
"Yeah," Thompson says.
Someone calls for a defibrillator.
"He went down, and now he's not breathing," Thompson says. [These are the words of someone that was taught one thing, and is now looking at the opposite. He's in a state of shock.]
"Excited delirium, huh?" his colleagues ask. It's the catchall, street-side diagnosis for those who inexplicably die in police custody.
They fiddle with the taser's prongs. Why aren't they closer to where Thompson is pointing?
"The wind is blowing them?" one suggests. "I'm just trying to find somethin' for you."
Hurricane police wouldn't need to find something if tasers really were non-lethal. If the officers who responded to Anna Cardall's hysterical 911 call had stopped traffic and used their hands. If Thompson had waited a minute --- just a minute --- before zapping Cardall full of 50,000 volts. Or if the officer had left well enough alone and not electrified the man writhing and moaning on the ground a second time.
But they aren't. And they didn't. And he didn't. And Brian Cardall, a 32-year-old father of two and doctoral student, died June 9 on the windswept side of Highway 59. ...
If you arrived here on direct link to a specific post, then you may click here if you wish to view all the latest posts on the Excited-Delirium blog.