The shooting looked bad. But that is when the professor is at his best. A black motorist, pulled to the side of the road for a turn-signal violation, had stuffed his hand into his pocket. The white officer yelled for him to take it out. When the driver started to comply, the officer shot him dead.
The driver was unarmed.
Taking the stand at a public inquest, William J. Lewinski, the psychology professor, explained that the officer had no choice but to act.
“In simple terms,” the district attorney in Portland, Ore., asked, “if I see the gun, I’m dead?”
“In simple terms, that’s it,” Dr. Lewinski replied.
When police officers shoot people under questionable circumstances, Dr. Lewinski is often there to defend their actions. Among the most influential voices on the subject, he has testified in or consulted in nearly 200 cases over the last decade or so and has helped justify countless shootings around the country.
He has appeared as an expert witness in criminal trials, civil cases and disciplinary hearings, and before grand juries, where such testimony is given in secret and goes unchallenged. In addition, his company, the Force Science Institute, has trained tens of thousands of police officers on how to think differently about police shootings that might appear excessive.[ … ]
Many policing experts are for hire, but Dr. Lewinski is unique in that he conducts his own research, trains officers and internal investigators, and testifies at trial. In the protests that have followed police shootings, demonstrators have often asked why officers are so rarely punished for shootings that seem unwarranted. Dr. Lewinski is part of the answer.
Dr. Lewinski said he was not trying to explain away every shooting. But when he testifies, it is almost always in defense of police shootings. Officers are his target audience — he publishes a newsletter on police use of force that he says has nearly one million subscribers — and his research was devised for them. “The science is based on trying to keep officers safe,” he said.[ … ]
A former Minnesota State professor, he says his testimony and training are based on hard science, but his research has been roundly criticized by experts. An editor for The American Journal of Psychology called his work “pseudoscience.” The Justice Department denounced his findings as “lacking in both foundation and reliability.” Civil rights lawyers say he is selling dangerous ideas.
Hmm … let me see. He got his doctorate from a diploma mill (you do the research), engages in pseudoscience (which has as its stated outcome keeping cops “safe”), trains cops, always testifies in their defense, and by virtue of the fact that he is the one being called as an “expert” witness, becomes the one who is called to testify as an “expert” witness in future cases, a sort of self-fulfilling prophesy.
Yea. You know what else might become a self-fulfilling prophesy? People knowing that police are going to discharge weapons as a matter of first recourse, and then act accordingly.