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EMS Staff Used 'Date-Rape Drug' on People at Cops' Request

Minneapolis police accused of abusing power
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2018 3:07 AM CDT
Ketamine injections during police calls in Minneapolis rose from three in 2012 to 62 in 2017.   (Chalabala/Getty Images)

(Newser) – Ketamine, a powerful sedative used on both humans and animals, is referred to as a "date-rape drug" in the Minneapolis police manual because it can alter or erase memory. It's also used to subdue suspects at the request of Minneapolis police, according to a city report. The report found that on dozens of occasions over the last three years, EMS workers used the drug during police calls, including times when no apparent crime had been committed, the Star Tribune reports. Health workers in Hennepin County, which includes Minneapolis, are allowed to use the drug on "profoundly agitated" people who can't be restrained, but "in many cases, the individual being detained or arrested was not only handcuffed, but strapped down on a stretcher in an ambulance before receiving ketamine," the report states.

In some cases the sedative stopped suspects' hearts or breathing until they were medically revived, according to the report from the city's Office of Police Conduct Review. The office, a division of the city's Department of Civil Rights, compiled the report by looking for the word "ketamine" in police reports and watching body-camera footage. John Gordon, executive director of the ACLU in Minnesota, tells the New York Times that a "horrible abuse of power" took place if police ordered EMS workers to give the drug to suspects. After the Star Tribune article, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said it was "irresponsible" for the paper to release findings from the "incomplete" reports. He added that the report was "devoid of any input from medical personnel." (Read more Minneapolis stories.)

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