Expert in deadly force training criticized for record on police shootings

Nico Savidge, Wisconsin State Journal, July 31, 2014
More than 90 officers from law enforcement departments in 13 states are in Madison this week for training in high-stress situations such as officer-involved shootings. The Dane County Sheriffs Office and others pushed for the Minnesota-based Force Science Institute to bring the training to Madison, in part because of a recent string of officer-involved shootings. But the centers founder, Bill Lewinski, has emerged as a controversial figure on the topic of deadly force, derided by critics who say he sides too frequently with police and is called upon to testify in defense of officers in questionable shootings. Michael Haddad, an attorney in Oakland, California, said Lewinski has developed a reputation among police departments as someone who will defend an officer regardless of how egregious the shooting is. And a police oversight board in Canada said in 2012 it would stop consulting with Lewinski after his analysis helped clear a Vancouver officer in a controversial shooting, according to CBC News. ... Haddad represented the family of an undercover Oakland police officer who was shot and killed in 2001 when two other officers mistook him for a threat. After the family filed a lawsuit, the city of Oakland hired Lewinski to testify in defense of the officers at a deposition for the case, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The city ultimately settled the lawsuit for $3.5 million in 2006, the Chronicle reported. Lewinski has also been hired to testify in controversial brutality and deadly force lawsuits in the Twin Cities and Los Angeles, according to a 2010 profile in the Minneapolis City Pages. Hes the guy they go to when they have a really bad, hard-to-defend case, and they have to put on some sort of defense in court, Haddad said.

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