The man was in respiratory arrest

A doctor I know said this on a Facebook thread about the way the police treated Eric Garner, especially after they slammed him to the sidewalk:

Diabetic or not, the man was in respiratory arrest, an immediately life-threatening situation and one which any emergency responder with first aid training should recognize. Prone positioning with hands behind the back is a significant risk factor in inducing sudden respiratory arrest, which is why the hog tie position has been outlawed in many jurisdictions. Garner showed visibly obvious signs of severe respiratory distress. His diabetes was about the 987th issue on his list of Problems. If police officers are unable to recognize that a man they had just arrested is in respiratory arrest, they are a danger to public health in the conduct of their duties.

I find that compelling (so I got permission to quote it). You would absolutely think that would and should be part of police training. How could it not be? They train to use physical force and restraint; how could they not be trained also to recognize the potential dangers of that physical force and restraint, and what to do about them?


  1. karmacat says

    Mental health workers are trained in restraining patients without causing harm to the patient. We also learn that just because someone is talking, that person can still have restricted breathing

  2. karmacat says

    I should have added: I don’t know why police don’t get the same training. Or maybe they do and they don’t care.

  3. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Police usually are so trained (former cops beat reporter). Don’t assume they’re simply not trained. They usually are. It’s much darker and more disturbing than that.

    It’s obvious no training in the world is going to matter when the cop sees a citizen as an enemy, an expendable. Does anyone really think no one on that scene had first responder training? Of course they did! They stood there and ignored it because they didn’t care.

    Everyone noticed that, right? How they left Garner lying there and stood around nonchalant?

    This is nothing to do with training.

  4. smrnda says

    Yeah, training is irrelevant when the person being trained is a pea-brained authoritarian thug who joined the force so they could ‘stomp some ass.’

  5. A Masked Avenger says

    I have law enforcement training, so I can tell you that they are taught at least that cuffing on the ground creates a significant risk of respiratory arrest, and that they should get the arrestee back on his feet promptly if they have to take him down to cuff him. However, this is probably overwhelmed by training to keep the arrestee helpless, since prone is about as helpless as it gets. More and more, cops automatically prone everyone out, and figure out who’s who later.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *