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Video: "Excited Delirium" Victim Donald Lewis's Violent Final Minutes

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Is excited delirium a bizzare fatal syndrome first discovered in Miami? Or is it junk science used to cover up deaths caused by police abuse?

That's the question at the heart of this week's New Times feature, "The Dark Side." After the jump, watch the final moments of Donald Lewis, who died in a 2005 struggle with West Palm Beach Police as Cops cameras filmed.

A Palm Beach County coroner attributed the cause of death to "sudden respiratory arrest following physical struggling restraint due to cocaine-induced excited delirium."

For obvious reasons, the footage was never aired.

To proponents of excited delirium, Lewis's paranoia and imperviousness to pain -- he withstood chokeholds and hard knees to the back and neck from four large male police officers -- would appear to be classic excited delirium. But to his mother, Linda Lewis, those same methods used on an unarmed, handcuffed man mean something altogether different.

She took the police department to court in an excessive force lawsuit. Dr. Michael Baden, former New York City chief medical examiner, testified Donald had in fact died of "asphyxia caused by neck compression."

"Excited delirium didn't kill my son," Linda Lewis says. "The police killed my son."

The suit was ultimately dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

You be the judge. Apologies for the watermark, left by a computer program we used.


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