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Synopsis of Public Inquest, 04/28/04, Part 2

Synopsis of Public Inquest, 04/28/04, Part 2
SEVENTH WITNESS: Dr. William Lewinsky (spelling)?

He is an expert in police shootings, having 25 years of experience researching "lethal force encounters".

He is the creator and director for the "Study and Performance of Extreme Encounters".

He started his research in 1975.

Went into the action/reaction principle in GREAT detail. Won't bore you with details, other than to say that Action IS ALWAYS faster then Reaction. Nothing new there.

I really felt as if he was talking down to the family, jurors and people in the courtroom, as if they were completely uneducated on anything. Maybe it was just me, but I didn't really like the way he acted.

He claimed that he's trained over 50,000 officers, and that his website has had 2 1/2 million hits.

DA asked "Is there is a goal in all this training?" Dr. replied stating that shootings are traumatic events for everyone. For the officer involved (notice how he starts with the officer and NOT the victim's family!)... said that data shows that 3/4 of officers involved in deadly shootings leave law enforcement within 5 years, because of the way it affects them emotionally.

He said shootings are "traumatic for the community, families... I can't imagine having a son die at the hands of a police officer."

He says they need to conduct more research and do more training. He's familiar w/PPB's training. I believe the DA asked him if there were problems with PPB's training (but I could have misheard him), and the Dr. replied "that's correct".

Dr. continues to go on about action/reaction. He claimed that a person (let's call him person A) can draw and fire faster than a person (person B) who is standing there already with a gun pointed at person A, with the intent to shoot and kill him.

A question was sent up by someone, not sure if Senator Margaret Carter or Avel Gordly, but they asked what impact racism has on the decision to fire.

Dr. said the decision to fire is based upon the perceived threat - the "loss of control over the circumstances" by the police...

Re: race issues, he said "I'd like to get to that later." (I felt like he never truly did address this issue).

He then drew something on the blank pad on the pedestal (couldn't see it)... while drawing he admitted "I'm paid to talk, not to do art." That comment seemed quite telling to me. It was as if he was admitting that he was getting paid by the cops to say what they wanted him to say (which we ALL know does occur).

He talked about "symbolic actions" (how we all frame what we see based upon our own experiences and knowledge)

Discussed "reading" body language":
1. paraverbals - which are inflexes, intensity of a sound, etc.
2. proxemics - how close you are to somebody - reactionary distance/gap
3. Kinesics - all elements that the officer senses - body language, etc.
Said that an officer uses training, knowledge, experience, and lifetime experiences when "reading" somebody, and deciding upon what action to take.

More questions were sent up regarding the race issue. Are the cues read differently? Are there any studies on this"

He said there was "a slight trend" that Blacks, Hispanics, etc are treated differently.

But he kept focusing on "what threatens an officer is the lack of control." That they are reacting more to the violence from the subject than the subject's race.

He said that the main element is the fear that officers have of their own death. He stated that race was NOT an issue. Yeah right!

Said it was "force", "violence", and "the potential to die" that drives an officers reaction. Certainly that is true, but he is completely ignoring the added fear that officers have of black people, especially black men, in N and NE Portland!

DA asked him if he was familiar with the "slumper scenario". He said that he was, that "it's a standard training scenario" across the country. He added that 2 officers in Minnesota were killed in a scenario just like that.

A question was asked when a stalemate between an officer and an arrestee occurs, how does one extricate themselves from that.

"The best way is DISENGAGEMENT"!!!!! "Either disengage or escalate."
"Officers need to control all encounters" or minimize danger by disengaging.

He said it "depends on what it is", regarding which of the two techniques are effective or not.

He admits that he has done NO studies factoring in the race issue... "When we get the MONEY we will start studying"...

Re: study of 'Fear level / Style of fear level', his response was "We have not gone there yet."

He said "some people are very focused on the threat and engaging the threat. Others recoil and shoot to defend themselves instead of shooting to stop the suspect."

AGAIN, he said there's "NOT ENOUGH MONEY TO STUDY IT" but he did say "We want to get into it."


He seemed extremely pro-police. He wouldn't give any opinions in this particular incident, he only responded based generally, and talked about his "studies".

I, for one, can't wait to hear from the NON-police witnesses. I think we will hear a very different version of events.