Excited Delirium Blames Victims of Wrongful Death in California and Beyond

For years, Haddad & Sherwin attorney Julia Sherwin has been working to dismantle the theory of “Excited Delirium,” a common and baseless defense police use when they kill someone during restraint, like George Floyd, Mario Gonzalez, and Daniel Prude. Now, Sherwin is proud to announce her part in a formal report that peels back another layer from the longstanding myth.

Sherwin is one of five co-authors of a Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) report that exposes the racist and sexist roots of “Excited Delirium”, the deep involvement of TASER International in promoting the theory, and the clear conflicts of interest among some of the theory’s most ardent supporters. Sherwin’s physician co-authors also conduct a comprehensive review of the medical literature, and document the invalid junk science nature of the theory.

In the comprehensive report, Sherwin and her co-authors seek to disprove the theory of Excited Delirium once and for all. Sherwin calls for courts across the nation to see cases such as George Floyd’s for what they are: restraint asphyxia deaths caused by the officers themselves.

The report was released on March 2, 2022 and can be read here.

What Is Excited Delirium? 

Excited Delirium is a baseless and false defense that police officers accused of brutality and unlawful restraint have hidden behind for decades. This defense claims that the victim of police restraint is delirious, has psychomotor agitation, displays superhuman strength, and may even engage in violence. Excited Delirium attempts to pin deaths resulting from police restraint on the victim rather than holding the officers accountable, and frequently neglects important scientific factors in the victim’s death, such as the use of Tasers and restraint asphyxia.

Further reading on the myth of Excited Delirium here.

Civil Rights Attorneys in Oakland

Haddad & Sherwin LLP are Civil Rights attorneys in Oakland handling cases involving wrongful death, jail and police misconduct, restraint asphyxia, and police shootings in California. For a free case evaluation, contact them here.


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