BART police will no longer use the term “excited delirium” in written reports and the term has been removed from the agency’s policy manual, BART announced Thursday.
Excited delirium has been cited, mostly by law enforcement, for nearly four decades as the cause of deaths in police custody, particularly among those who are physically restrained or otherwise incapacitated.
The validity of the medical concept itself is disputed by medical experts, and was denounced in 2020 by the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association, both of which said the diagnosis is nearly exclusively used in cases of excessive police force or in which the deceased person was restrained.
BART’s Office of the Independent Police Auditor recommended BART police cease its use of the term. The BART Police Citizen Review Board also endorsed the recommendation.
“Removing this terminology from the BPD policy manual is a meaningful step toward racial equity in policing at BART,” BART Independent Police Auditor Russell Bloom said in a statement. “I and my team look forward to monitoring the implementation of this policy revision.”
According to BART, the agency’s police force has issued a department-wide bulletin notifying employees of the change.
“This policy change affirms BPD’s commitment to continuous improvement through policy changes and ongoing training that exceeds industry standards,” BART Police Chief Ed Alvarez said.