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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 1998
Contacts: John Sansone (619) 531-4847
Ricky R. Sanchez (619) 531-4874
U.S. District Judge John S. Rhoades last week rejected arguments by the family of a Poway man who died two days after struggling with Sheriff's deputies during a June 28, 1994, arrest. The family contended that Daniel Price died from "positional asphyxia" after being hogtied -- a type of restraint in which a person's hands and feet are bound behind the back.
The County of San Diego challenged the case, whose scientific claims were based on an article published in a forensic pathology journal nearly 10 years ago concluding that hogtying causes fatal positional asphyxia.
Deputy County Counsel Ricky R. Sanchez questioned the scientific validity and commissioned a study through the University of California at San Diego Medical Center. The study, published in the November 1997 issue of the Annals of Emergency Medicine, found that hogtying does not induce asphyxia. In light of the UCSD study, the author of the original hogtie/positional asphyxia article, retracted his hypothesis.
The San Diego federal judge found that Price's death resulted from methamphetamine-induced toxic delirium and cardiac arrest, and the Sheriff's Deputies were found to have reasonably used hogtying. The judge also found that the hogtie restraint is not an excessive use of force.
All of the above "News Release" was based upon the San Diego Union Tribune article, "Police Hogtie Restraint Doesn't Kill, Evidence Now Shows." (See my RESTRAINT ASPHYXIA LIBRARY if you haven't already read this.)
As I wrote in my paper, "Dangerous Misinformation Published," the San Diego Union Tribune article is filled with errors and untruths - primarily composed of "MISinformation." (See my RESTRAINT ASPHYXIA LIBRARY if you haven't already read this.)
Thus, the above-presented "News Release" clearly demonstrates precisely how much the publication of MISinformation SUCKS!
This "News Release" demonstrates how the Union-Tribune MISinformation-filled article has fueled the fire of those who fear and fight "change" - even when "change" clearly means the adoption of better, safer, methods of operation. Since the Union-Tribune article's publication, lawyers (district attorneys, too!) and law enforcement officials across the country have been eager to use its MISinformation to support and defend the continued use of forceful-prone-restraint and hobble restraint, especially in court.
Personally, up until the year 2000, I had no objection to defending officers (or EMS providers) who hadn't been educated about the dangers of positional asphyxia from use of forceful prone and prone-hobble restraint. However, this subject has been ignored and pussy-footed around long enough!
By now, all EMS, Fire, and Law Enforcement/Corrections agencies in this country have heard about positional asphyxia deaths related to forceful prone and prone-hobble restraints. With the enormous body of case studies and forensic medical research that clearly indicates a relationship between forceful prone and prone-hobble restraint and positional asphyxia, such deadly restraint practices should already be banned.
It is vitally important, however, that restraint-users be educated about the dangers of forceful prone and prone-hobble restraint. Simply "ordering" someone to stop using time-honored techniques will not stop forceful prone and prone-hobble restraint positional asphyxia.
IN FACT! The banning of "hobble restraint" has been inappropriately implemented by many law enforcement and correctional services, because it was done without an understanding of Restraint Asphyxia! It's NOT the "hobble" that kills people. It's the forceful-prone-restraint (that is used to get them INTO a hobble restraint) that kills them! If people were hobbled in a sideways-lying position, and KEPT off their belly while hobbled, they wouldn't die.
This is also the reason why I DO NOT ENDORSE ANY of the "devices" that have been designed to "safely replace" hobble restraint! All of these devices still promote the use of forceful-prone-restraint in order to get individuals INTO the device. Thus, all of these devices are just as apt to cause Restraint Asphyxia.
New in 2002: The Hugger is a recently developed device that DOES address (and act to prevent) forceful-prone-restraint! Information about The Hugger - and other devices - coming soon to my Restraint Asphyxia Newz page!
Additionally, in times of stress (such as when faced with the impressive combativeness exhibited by those who traditionally require forceful prone and prone-hobble restraint), uneducated individuals will revert to traditional practices. This is not a reflection of their "lack of adherence to orders" or a "lack of discipline!" It is a reflection of their human nature to rely upon best-known practices in times of stress.
Only with education can we replace forceful prone and prone-hobble restraint practices with safer, equally as effective, methods of restraint. And, since such methods do exist, it is imperative that we fight to educate others and discontinue the use of restraint methods that contribute to death by positional asphyxia.
In conclusion, it is clear that the San Diego Union-Tribune article contains seriously dangerous MISinformation. Thus, this article - and any "News Release" it generates - is an invalid excuse for the continued support of forceful prone or prone-hobble restraint practices.