A call for a naked man tearing apart his mother’s home in 2005 is vivid in Ottawa Police Const. Keith Martin’s mind.
Martin drove to the Bells Corners house, waiting for backup, when the man “dove through the window, right onto the lawn,” he said.
Alone, Martin tried to grab him but the man was “crazy strong.”
Martin dispensed pepper spray.
“He wiped it off and he said ‘I hope you’ve got something better than that,’” Martin recalled. This was Martin’s sole experience with the condition called excited delirium.
“The hard part is, it’s a medical condition, and we know that,” Martin said.
“It’s usually caused by probably drugs or alcohol or a combination … My guy took $400 worth of crack in one go, so that’s why he was kind of going out of his mind.”
A Taser would’ve come in handy; the province is contemplating the use of conducted energy weapons among frontline officers.
“It’s very worrying when your options don’t work,” said Martin.
With a Taser, “you have no choice” but to comply.
Back to that scene: Martin struck the man a few times in the thigh with a baton.
“He just chuckled, so they don’t feel any pain whatsoever,” Martin said. “He didn’t even flinch, and it was a steel baton.”
Several officers arrived, tackling the man.
“He did a pushup with all of us on and he threw an officer … just tossed him like he was a rag doll,” Martin said.
They eventually cuffed the man, “and then he pretty much destroyed the back seat of my cruiser,” Martin said.
Paramedics sedated the man as they got him out of the car at the hospital.
“His heart rate was 250 beats per minute, so his heart was beating out of his chest, basically.”
Medical attention is imperative when excited delirium is suspected,
A patient essentially morphing into the Hulk is “very, very scary,” said Ottawa Paramedic spokesman J.P. Trottier.
“We certainly let police go in first to make it safe for the paramedics.”
Excited delirium is recognized in the medical community, Trottier said.