Sunday, August 02, 2015

Former Minnesota State University prof defends police shootings

William J. Lewinski, a psychologist who has studied police shootings, held a training session at the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs in Monterey Park, Calif., last month. Credit Michal Czerwonka for The New York Times

Training Officers to Shoot First, and He Will Answer Questions Later

By MATT APUZZO, NYT
AUG. 1, 2015

(TM note: Lewinski addressed a couple of my classes at MSU Mankato — very entertaining speaker.)

WASHINGTON — 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.

His conclusions are consistent: The officer acted appropriately, even when shooting an unarmed person. Even when shooting someone in the back. Even when witness testimony, forensic evidence or video footage contradicts the officer’s story.

(More here.)

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