Video: Excited delirium instructor says TASERs crucial

In response to '60 Minutes,' an officer says TASERs quell erratic suspects

By PoliceOne Staff

LAS VEGAS — A police officer is defending TASERs in light of Sunday's "60 Minutes" episode on the devices, citing excited delirium as a primary reason officers should carry one.

"Superhuman strength, impervious to pain, bizarre, incoherent speech" are symptoms of the condition, which causes suspects to become "not even necessarily cognizant of our commands," Officer Marcus Martin of the Las Vegas Metro Police Department said.

In a CBS video, a camera on a TASER shows a suspect who exposed himself to children in a parking lot and then ran away — a possible example of the condition, which police said can be humbling for officers.

Martin, a certified instructor on excited delirium, says he can recall several such cases, and according to reports, more police think using a TASER is the quickest way to subdue a suspect who is agitated and unruly.

"Without [a TASER], we're dog-piling this person. It's a prolonged, drawn-out altercation," Martin said.

Critics question whether excited delirium is real, calling it a blanket term too vague for symptoms that might be more complicated, sources said.

"Admittedly, it's a controversial term," Martin said. But, he added, the controversy does not make the threat any less real.

"Don't tell us that it doesn't exist when we're rolling around in the jail cell with it, or when we're rolling around in the streets with it," Martin said.

  1. Tags
  2. Officer Safety
  3. Less Lethal
  4. Patrol Issues
  5. Use of Force

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