Prone Restraint and Positional Asphyxia in Custody Deaths

Category: Press Article

Publication: Blue Line Magazine, May/June 2024

Author: Geoffrey Desmoulin

Summary: Custody deaths of individuals restrained in the prone position are under increased scrutiny. Unlike the George Floyd case, where breathing was restricted due to neck pressure, these deaths occur when subjects are handcuffed in the prone position with weight applied to their backs. Previously attributed to “excited delirium,” a now-debunked classification, these deaths are now recognized as resulting from restricted breathing, correctly termed positional asphyxia. Law enforcement must identify signs of positional asphyxia and take timely countermeasures to ensure detainee safety.