Psychological Training of Police creates "Killology" Violence
“If we really want to get down to the root of why all these [police] killings are happening, this warrior training 100% has to be put under a microscope and analyzed… If cops got less of this training, less people would die. There's no question about that.” —Craig Atkinson, Filmmaker and directorof Do Not Resist
Introduction by Rev. Frederick Shaw
The historical oppression of Blacks in this country has been documented, studied or passed down from generation to generation in our community, even though it may not be the version taught in school. I’m talking about the Jim Crow laws, the destruction of Black Wall Street and systemic racism in our schools and law enforcement today, including the legal system, and the prison industrial complex. It also includes disparity in our medical care and much more. Blacks are well aware of this.
I won’t detail our entire history here, but like in a fight, it is the punch you don’t see that knocks you out. And there is a source of knock-out but hidden oppression that has plagued our community for hundreds of years and continues to pummel us to this day. It affects the schooling of our children, our medical care, and extends to what we witness in America with the injustice and violent treatment perpetrated on Black Americas under guise of “law enforcement.” And that is the mental health industry. And if we do not understand how this came to be, it will continue to wreak havoc and destruction under the guise of “helping us.”
I am a former member of law enforcement and I myself have been racially profiled for being Black, for driving in the wrong model vehicle and for being in the vicinity of “drug invested or high crime” areas. I can’t tell you the amount of times law enforcement officers apologized for pulling me over or stopping me while jogging down the street and started the encounter asking, “Where are you going?” I had not committed any violation and certainly no crime, but I was stopped and asked questions.
I do not want to give the idea that all cops are bad. Most of the cops I’ve met are good, decent people. They would run into a burning building or risk their lives to save a person of any color. I’ve worked alongside the good and the bad. We know that racial profiling has been occurring since slavery and eugenics.
How is it that Whites and Blacks are treated differently when encountered by law enforcement? What causes the escalation of force between Blacks and the Police? I, and other Black leaders, have said, “When Whites encounter law enforcement, they are expected to comply. However, when Blacks encounter law enforcement, they are expected to obey.” One indicates the feeling of cooperation and the other obedience and dominance.
As psychiatry set the medical model of racism that we see indoctrinated into the culture not just in America but also worldwide, they must share some of the blame.
Racism is so indoctrinated into the mindset of our cultures that it is hard to penetrate when the information comes through “science” and “authoritative mental studies.” This brainwashing has manipulated our society for generations and the social agencies within it. They believe people of color are both a “threat” and “not quite human.”
This ideology has masked oppression and violence in the guise of “protection” and “justice.” Where “normal” means kneeling on a black man’s neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds, while ignoring him shouting, “I can’t breathe,” or with by-standers begging for his life.
I attended South Africa’s Truth & Reconciliation (TRC) in 1997 and heard firsthand the atrocities that police and Special Forces committed during Apartheid. What stood out for me was the mentality of Dirk Coetzee, commander of the covert South African Security Police and his testimony to the TRC, covered by “60 Minutes.”
Black South Africans were given knockout drugs and as soon as they fell over, police shot them at point blank. Coetzee described the killing of Vuyani Muvaso and burning his body, with about as much concern as swatting an annoying mosquito:This is how you treat people who have been labeled or considered animals. Here is a small sample of his testimony.
Coetzee: “The remains [of the body] have got to be turned over frequently during the night. Seven to nine hours until there are no chunks left the next morning. We were sitting around having a barbecue and drinking…and every once in a while, someone would get up and turn the body.” Reporter: “Did the presence of this dead man on a fire next to you affect the atmosphere of the evening?”
Coetzee: “Not at all. Not at all.”
Evidence I helped present to the TRC detailed the decades of psychological and psychiatric studies, based on eugenics, that impacted all levels of apartheid society—in the courts, police departments, prisons, schools and universities. The problems that South Africans faced were eerily similar to the lynching and murders that Blacks suffered in America. It was used to justify the oppression of black South Africans and created a perpetual conflict between Blacks and Whites.
By comparison, a psychiatric paper on Nazi eugenics said that psychiatrists were the “providers and refiners of the ideological and intellectual foundations for race theory and medical killing.” An entire country “believed” in this theory and that killing was “help.”
The now-infamous tragic killing of George Floyd captured on video while being restrained by a Minneapolis police officer and when he’s pleading, “I can’t breathe,” forces a question: What are the police being trained in?
When I left the force in 1993, there was a big movement on de-escalation techniques and Verbal Judo type trainings. But today, they have been replaced with techniques such as “Killology,” the latter developed by Dr. Dave Grossman, former Professor of Psychology at West Point. Such mental health professionals have taught these to police and major law enforcement agencies for decades. It’s known as “fear-based” training and teaches to kill without hesitation or guilt. It teaches the false concept that police are at war with the community they are paid to serve.
Yet despite this, and decades of psychiatric/psychological mental health assistance and advice in the field of law enforcement, we certainly don’t see improved community conditions. We see more, not less, violence and racial profiling.
Speaking earlier of Dr. Dave Grossman, it reminds me of the July 6, 2016,shooting ofPhilando Castile, a 32-year-old Black man, killed by Jeronimo Yanez, a Hispanic police officer with St. Anthony, Minnesota police department. Yanez shot Castile seven times, at point-blank range, in front of Castile’s girlfriend and her four-year-old daughter, because he mistakenly believed that Castile was reaching for a gun in his pocket instead of his wallet. Yanez had undergone 56 hours of a controversial psychological training in 2014 before killing Castile during a traffic stop.
Yanez had done Dr. Grossman’s “fear-based" police officer “Killology” training. Grossman invented the term “killology” for his training program, defined as: “the scholarly study of the destructive act”–essentially, how police and military can carry out and live with killing. To reiterate, the basis of Grossman’s classes is that officers are “at war” with the communities they serve and need psychological training to become “warriors” to overcome their unwillingness or hesitation to kill. If not, they could be killed in the line of duty. Training courses include “Bulletproof Warrior,” which Grossman has been teaching for more than 20 years ago.
In 2016, the documentary, Do Not Resist, was released. Filmmaker and director Craig Atkinson called Grossman’s warrior training the "number-one issue" that's getting people unnecessarily killed by police. Atkinson said: "If we really want to get down to the root of why all these killings are happening, this warrior training 100% has to be put under a microscope and analyzed.People need to ask the question: Is this still the appropriate training for what we're asking our cops to be on a day-to-day basis?" He added: "If cops got less of this training, less people would die. There's no question about that."
How might good cops be turned into bad ones?
What psychological or psychiatric methods are still being taught police for racial profiling, militarizing police forces and even to “screen” for the “right” police candidates? Clearly, what has and is being used is not working. And federal and state funding should no longer endorse it, because, as I mention below and quote from a 2016 documentary on psychological/psychiatric police training: "If cops got less of this training, less people would die. There's no question about that.”
As a former deputy sheriff, why is it that with mental health professionals being embedded in the LAPD for more than 40 years and receiving mental health training we see continued violence?
Grossman teaches officers to be "emotionally, spiritually, psychologically" prepared to kill people on the job. If you're prepared to kill, he says, it's "just not that big of a deal."That is a long way from protect and serve.
Atkinsons wondered how the Castile incident might have played out if Officer Yanez hadn’t heard “Dave Grossman tell him that every single traffic stop could be, might be, the last stop you ever make in your life.”
"Obviously not all cops are bad, but you take good cops and you give them warrior training and you quickly have an outcome that we see moving across this country right now,” Atkinson said.
It’s not just our Black community that needs protection from this but also the police should not be trained to rely upon psychiatric and psychological screening, profiling, and training for treatment of the stresses and violence they, too, face, including “suicide by cop.”
Below are some facts that, combined, warrant an investigation into the use of psychologists and psychiatrists in the police force, their failure to prevent police brutality and their influence on racial (eugenics) profiling.
Policing in southern slave-holding states had roots in slave patrols, squadrons made up of white volunteers empowered to use vigilante tactics to enforce laws related to slavery. They located and returned slaves who had escaped, and punished slaves found or believed to have violated plantation rules.
1916:Mental health services for police officers traces the initial involvement of behavioral scientists in law enforcement to 1916. This was when psychological eugenics was thriving in the U.S. The first trend—1916 to 1960—was characterized by the attempts of psychologists to assess the intellectual skills required to be an effective police officer. The second trend—1952 to 1975—focused on the development of personality measures capable of distinguishing effective from less effective officers.
1960s:During the Civil Rights Movement, psychologists began working with police agencies following “urban riots.” At that time, psychiatrists invented and diagnosed African Americans marching against racism and injustice as having “protest psychosis.” Stereotypical profiling (symptoms) included “hostile and aggressive feelings” and “delusional anti-whiteness” after listening to civil rights leaders, joining Black Muslims or aligning themselves with groups that preached militant resistance to White society.
Black African men were said to require psychiatric treatment because their symptoms threatened not only their own sanity, but also the social order of White America. Psychiatrists writing in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry said that Blacks developed delusions, grandiosity, magical thinking, and “dangerous aggressive dealings” when they joined civil rights sit-ins.
The first behavioral scientists in law enforcement were involved in psychological testing to aid the selection of police candidates. This expanded to include criminal personality profiling, domestic crisis intervention and counseling police officers. Today, we would call this hope.
1968: Recommendations from the 1968 National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorder Report called for screening to improve the quality of police officers hired—screening was one of the first psychologists’ jobs. Psychologists favored “increased monitoring and training as a means of reducing the use of excessive force.” Police psychology developed notably thereafter. The Los Angeles Police Department hired a full-time psychologist, thereby giving formal recognition of their importance.
1970s:Behavioral profiling became popular in the US in the 1970s when psychologists working with the FBI used questionnaires to interview 36 imprisoned serial killers. Their responses were used as a basis for drawing up profiles of future murderers. Research since then has found that serial killers are unreliable interviewees, a realization that undermines the foundations behavioral profiling was built on.”
1982:The American Psychological Association designated a special section for psychologists who worked in law enforcement.
1984-85: ADOJ/FBI “Police Psychology: Operational Assistance” Manual said: “In 1984, the Training Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Department of Justice, hosted the National Symposium on Police Psychological Services at the FBI Academy, Quantico, Virginia.” It covered how mental health professionals could assist police ‘“operationally.’” This led to the annual World Conference on Police Psychology. Crisis intervention, conflict management, and hypnosis were examples of psychology in action in law enforcement.
1991:Police violence was reawakened when the Rodney King beating by LAPD officers occurred in Los Angeles. Departments hired psychologists “for their expertise in understanding human behavior, including aggression and violent behavior….” The DOJ called for research to determine the nature, extent and means of control of use of force by the Nation’s police officers. A survey of police psychologists was done to recommend what was needed to control police.
1994, April: A US Department of Justice report discussed the role of police psychologists in preventing and identifying individual police officers at risk for use of excessive, nonlethal force and the factors that contribute to police use of excessive force in performing their duties.
1995:“Fear-based” police officer training was developed by professor of psychology, Dave Grossman. He is a former US Army Ranger, a paratrooper, and a former West Point Psychology Professor. Grossman’s father was a police officer in Cheyenne, Wyoming for a short time in the 1960s before taking a job with Boeing as part of the government’s nuclear security program. Soon after he turned 18, DaveGrossman enlisted in the Army which sent him to the University of Texas, where he earned his masters’ degree in education psychology. He was selected to teach psychology at West Point (1990-1993). The rest of his professorial experience came at Arkansas State, where he spent four years teaching military science and overseeing The Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program.It was at Arkansas State that he published On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society. He invented the term “killology.”
Grossman drew on his study of killing in combat. He asserted that humans aren’t natural-born killers, but must be psychologically conditioned to overcome their innate inhibition against taking life. The premise of Grossman’s classes is that officers are “at war” on the domestic front and need psychological training to become “warriors” to overcome their resistance to killing. If not, they could be killed in the line of duty, he said.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey banned warrior-style training in Minneapolis in April 2019, saying: “Fear-based trainings violate the values at the very heart of community policing. When you’re conditioned to believe that every person encountered poses a threat to your existence, you simply cannot be expected to build out meaningful relationships with those same people.”
On Killingbecame a part of the curriculum at the FBI academy and on the Marine Corps Commandant’s Professional Reading List. Grossman claims his books are required reading at many law enforcement academies.
1998: After Grossman retired from the military, he founded the Killology Research Group to focus full-time on writing and speaking. His bio stated: “Since his retirement from the US Army in 1998, he has been on the road almost 300 days a year, for over 19 years [now 22 years since 1998], as one of our nation’s leading trainers for military, law enforcement, mental health providers, and school safety organizations.” He is the world’s sole authority on “killology.”
“Before retiring from the military, I spent almost a quarter of a century as an army infantry officer and a psychologist, learning and studying how to enable people to kill. Believe me, we are very good at it. But it does not come naturally; you have to be taught to kill.” – Dave Grossman.
November 2004: In an interview with PBS’s Frontline, Grossman stated, “Modern training makes you kill without conscious thought.... We’re making it possible for people to kill without conscious thought. And frankly, at the moment of truth, they need to be able to do that. Those who are not properly trained are going to be killed. And so, we’re teaching them to kill without conscious thought. And they at an unconscious level, at the muscle-memory reflex level, have grasped killing: Gun. Shoot. He’s dead.”
Frontline asked: “So in summary, what is the three-sentence physiological description of the moment where you need to choose to fire?” Grossman replied: “The only way to overcome that resistance is through operate conditioning, to make killing a condition reflex. And we’ve done that.”
The author of a New Republic article stated, “His timing was perfect. The war on drugs—and later the war on terror—transformed police departments into paramilitary forces, spreading the warrior ethos to every corner of American law enforcement. Between 2002 and 2011, the Department of Homeland Security handed out $35 billion in grants to state and local police.”
2008: A study from the University of Emory titled, “Science and Pseudoscience in Law Enforcement: A User-Friendly Primer [textbook],” said law enforcement has “long struggled with the…problem of distinguishing scientifically supported from scientifically unsupported practices.” “Police and other law enforcement workers, like individuals in all applied disciplines, must keep a watchful eye on pseudoscientific and otherwise unsubstantiated claims,” the study said. “If they do not, they can end up making flawed decisions….”
2010:The Guardian reported in an article headlined, “Psychological profiling ‘worse than useless’” that “Police forces routinely ask behavioral scientists to draw up profiles of killers who are still at large, based on a knowledge of the victim and details recorded at the crime scene. But according to a team of psychologists at Birmingham City University, the practice of offender profiling is deeply unscientific and risks bringing the field into disrepute. “Behavioral profiling has never led to the direct apprehension of a serial killer, a murderer, or a spree killer, so it seems to have no real-world value,” psychologist Craig Jackson said. “It is given too much credibility as a scientific discipline,” he stated.
2015: While speaking in front of a group in a segment filmed for the 2016 police militarization documentary Do Not Resist, Grossman stated: “I am convinced from a lifetime of study, if you fully prepare yourself, in most cases killing is just not that big of a deal…for a mature warrior whose killing represents a clear and present danger to others, it’s just not that big of a deal.”
2015: PSYCHOLOGIST WILLIAM LEWINSKI is also a leading behavioral scientist and psychologist with a Ph.D. in Police Psychology. He was a professor emeritus of Law Enforcement at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where he taught for more than 28 years. He is the Executive Director and Lead Instructor of The Force Science® Institute in Minnesota and describes his research as impacting “law enforcement officers and agencies worldwide and has revolutionized the way force investigations and training are conducted.”
The Institute is aimed at improving peace officer performance in critical situations.Dr. Dawn A. O’Neill, who serves as a behavioral scientist at the Institute, has a background in applied behavior analysis, clinical psychology, and criminal justice.
Lewinski plays an active role in convincing officers they are always in danger when dealing with members of the public. Lewinski has infuriated researchers by using the concept of “inattentional blindness” — where focus on one task blocks out everything else — to justify police mistakes.
When police officers shoot people under questionable circumstances, Dr. Lewinski is often there to defend their actions. He has testified in or consulted in nearly 200 cases over the last decade.
Many policing experts are for hire, but 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 does not seem to meet any of the standards required for expert testimony in our courts. Instead his unscientific opinions are used to mislead juries,” said Florida criminal defense lawyer Warren Redlich.
Lewinski gets paid $1,000 per hour to serve as an expert witness in police shooting cases.
His theory has been heavily criticized, with some calling his research “invalid and unreliable,” and “pseudoscience,” the New York Times said.
The American Journal of Psychology called Lewinski’s work “pseudoscience.”The Justice Department denounced his findings as “lacking in both foundation and reliability.” Civil rights lawyers say he is selling dangerous ideas. “People die because of this stuff,” said John Burton, a California lawyer who specializes in police misconduct cases.
July 6, 2016: Philando Castile, a 32-year-old African American man, was shot dead by police officer, Jeronimo Yanez, a Hispanic member of the St. Anthony, Minnesota police department. Yanez had taken a Bulletproof class with Grossman in 2014 for 56 hours. Yanez read The Bulletproof WarriorandAnatomy of Force Incidents training manuals during the 2014 seminar.
2016:Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith cancelled a Grossman workshop “due to concerns that the classes make officers more likely to use deadly force when it’s not necessary.” “It trains cops to be paranoid and to assume everyone is out to get them,” said Susan Harman, an Oakland resident and member of the Oakland Privacy Working Group. Harmon and others asked the sheriff to cancel the event. “Shoot first and ask questions later,” is how Harman characterized the content of the classes.
2016: The documentary Do Not Resist by filmmaker and director Craig Atkinson was released and called Grossman’s warrior training the “number-one issue” that’s getting people unnecessarily killed by police.”
Atkinson spent three years filming 18 different departments, going on ride-alongs and SWAT raids, where he often heard Grossman’s name. “He was always billed to us as one of the number one trainer in all of law enforcement,” Atkinson said. Then he filmed one of Grossman’s workshops. “We were absolutely shocked to hear the messaging of violence going out,” he said. Atkinson also questioned Grossman’s use of data. “A lot of police officers aren’t coming from a scientific background,” he said. “So, when Grossman — a professor — presents something as fact, they take it as fact. But when you really drill down into any of it, it’s basically a small bit of reality blown up to justify his thinking. He’s cherry-picking ideas to illustrate his point.”
The following are several of the quotes from Dave Grossman in the Do Not Resist documentary, with their time codes in the film:
10:07: Dave Grossman is America’s number one trainer of all U.S. military and local law enforcement.
10:36: You fight violence. What do you fight it with? Superior violence. Righteous violence, yeah? Violence is your tool. Violence is your enemy. Violence is the realm we operate in. You are men and women of violence. You must master it, or it will destroy you, yeah?
11:10: Cop says knock-down, drag-out fight, cuff them and stuff them. Finally get home at the end of the shift and…Cop says gunfight, bad guys down. “I’m alive!” Finally get home at the end of the incident and they all say, “The best sex I’ve had in months.”
1:07:57: Ever heard the old saying, “It’s gotta get worse before it gets better”? Oh, it’s gonna get worse, folks. We are at war! And you are the front-line troops in this war! And folks, I want you to understand something. When they come to murder the children, the individuals who tried to disarm out cops will be hunted down, and across the nation they will be attacked, they will be spit on, they will be driven deep into their slimy little holes, so they never come out again. In the very near future, the idiots trying to disarm our cops…there ain’t nobody in Mexico right now complaining about militarization of police.
Another psychologist and police trainer interviewed was Richard Berk, Professor of Criminology and Statistics, Department of Criminology and Department of Statistics at the University of Pennsylvania. He has Ph.D. in Sociology and a B.A. in Psychology. He became interested in training when violence exploded following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Berk’s graduate school thesis examined the looting patterns during the riots.
Berk claims to be able to forecast criminal behavior and/or victimization using statistical/machine learning procedures—arguably another form of “profiling.” He has designed various algorithms (problem solving calculations) currently being used by the Pennsylvania criminal justice system.
It sounds like a cross between Brave New World and The Minority Report. As of 2016, he was working on an algorithm that he said will be able to predict at the time of someone’s birth how likely he or she is to commit a crime by the time he/she she turns 18.
His tools have been used by prisons to determine which inmates to place in restrictive settings and parole departments to choose how closely to supervise people being released from prison, etc.
In Do Not Resist Berk stated (time coded):
58:37: …what I’m engaged in is forecasting what we call “malfeasance,” which is various kinds of behavior which may be illegal, but certainly undesirable.
58:49: You get background information on an individual from an archival data-set, and you push a button, and you get a forecast.
59:49: There are concerns about these techniques and they’re legitimate. Race, of course, is the most obvious one. The obvious point is you really shouldn’t be using somebody’s race to forecast whether or not they’re going to commit a crime. Well, it’s a balance. If it were to turn out that race is an important factor, let’s say in predicting homicides, and race is associated with homicides.People generally kill people like themselves. Maybe, you do want to use race. If we don’t use race, you’re gonna have an increase perhaps in homicides you could have prevented.How many deaths, five, ten, fifteen, are you prepared to allow because you won’t allow me to use race?
1:03:47: On this matter of forecasting criminal behavior, among our set of individuals who we’re considering to release from prison, we have Darth Vaders and Luke Skywalkers, but we don’t know which is which. Anybody who has a hint of Darth Vader characteristics, we call them a Darth Vader…We really want to be sure that we catch all the Darth Vaders and we’re prepared to make some mistakes on the Luke Skywalkers.
1:04:50: We’ve done some with family-support services. In essence, we’re collecting information on the parents. Sometimes those parents have no criminal record whatsoever, but if we had information, for example, about their drug histories, about their educational circumstances, about whether they’re employed, psychiatric problems, all sorts of things, we might be able to forecast which kids are at risk before they’re born. That’d be pretty neat. We could also forecast perhaps before they’re born whether they’re a high risk to commit a homicide by the age of 18.
1:06:25: Right now, drones are controlled by pilots, but there’s already technology in place in which they’re robotic and make their own decisions…And they can make decisions about whether to fire a Hellfire missile or not. Who makes that decision? The computer can make it more quickly and more accurately than you or I can. So maybe we should let them decide?” [See February 2020]
April 2017:An article was headlined: “Professor Carnage: Dave Grossman teaches police officers to think like ‘warriors.’ But is the rise of a militarized mindset turning black citizens into targets?” It pointed out: “In an online description that has since been taken down, Calibre [Press] promised students they would learn ‘how to utilize the ‘Warrior Spirit’ in a practical way so they can WIN hostile confrontations on the street.’” The “Bulletproof” manual is published byfrom Calibre Press, which is a “public safety training company.” Calibre Press is in Glen Ellyn, Ill., and owned by Jim Glennon, a former police lieutenant with a BA in psychology and a Master’s Degree in Police Management.
2017:An article reported that “For nearly two decades, [Grossman] has taught tens of thousands of police officers, sheriff’s deputies, and federal agents in every state to cultivate what he calls a ‘warrior mindset’—being mentally prepared to kill at any moment.”
Furthermore, Grossman had spoken to more than 100 departments around the country in the previous two years.Salem Police Department paid $12,000 for two of his talks in 2016. Courses also ranged in price from $239 to $279 per person.
2017: Curtis Waltman, a writer for MuckRock (a non-profit which assists anyone in filing governmental requests for information through FOIA) stated: “One can only imagine what Grossman’s ideas are for stopping bullying, school shootings, and any other potential threats to the nation’s young. Guards at the doors with automatic rifles? Teachers aggressively stopping bullying by harming bullies - many of which come from dysfunctional homes themselves? This is the man whose most well-known book was called On Killing and broke down for the public what goes in a person’s mind when he takes another human being’s life, and furthermore, how to make it easier.”
2018: The Minneapolis-based watchdog organizationCommunities United Against Police Brutality said an information pamphlet says theclaims Grossman makes in his courses are “like a foundation full of cracks.” The organization said much of Grossman’s work is unverified and lacks peer reviews. “It’s one thing to claim to discover a phenomenon that’s under-researched and then try to learn more for the general advancement of knowledge. It’s another thing to operationalize ideas drawn from controversial, fatally-flawed, non-peer-reviewed research.” And that’s what Grossman is doing: Preparing police officers to interact with the public they serve by telling them they are “warriors,” by insisting that “WE. ARE. AT. WAR.!,” and by encouraging them to question any previous training they’ve undergone,” the organization said.
2019-2020: “The 2016 fatal shooting of Castile ignited a debate over the merits of warrior cop training in Minneapolis. In 2019, Mayor Jacob Frey announced a ban on the courses for city police officers. ‘When you’re conditioned to believe that every person encountered poses a threat to your existence, you simply cannot be expected to build out meaningful relationships with those same people,’ he said. Within a week of the news, the city’s police union unveiled that it had partnered with Law Officer, a training website, to offer a $55,000 online course to officers free of charge. ‘It’s not about killing, it’s about surviving,’ said Bob Kroll, the union president. A little over a year later, George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was slowly asphyxiated on a public street by a Minneapolis police officer, sparking nationwide calls for reform.”
February 2020: Ohio State canceled Lewinski’s psychological “force science” training after backlash from groups that said the training perpetuated and promoted police brutality.
February 2020:The New York Times reported algorithms such as Richard Berk’s were being used to assess people’s risk of criminality, and base probation, jail time, etc. But “critics warn this eliminates humans and transparency from decision-making, and developers are not legally bound to explain their programs’ mechanisms—while their gender, class, race, or geographical prejudices may be embedded within the algorithms as well.”In 2019, Berk co-authored a paper, “Almost Politically Acceptable Criminal Justice Risk Assessment.” It stated: “We do not seek perfectly accurate and perfectly fair risk assessments. We seek politically acceptable risk assessments.” They described and applied a machine learning approach that addressed many of the most visible claims of “racial bias” to arraignment data on 300,000 offenders. 67% of the offenders were African-American, and 32% of the offenders were White.
June 2020: An article in The Trace about the “warrior” culture that permeates American law enforcement cited: “They are taught that they live in an intensely hostile world. A world that is, quite literally, gunning for them,” wrote Seth Stoughton, a law professor and former police officer, in an article for the Harvard Law Review. “Death, they are told, is constantly a single, small misstep away.”
The Trace also reported, “While the warrior narrative has existed in law enforcement circles for decades, it has intensified in recent years, driven by the flood of funding and surplus military equipment t made available to police departments following the terror attacks on September 11, 2001.There is now a cottage industry of police consulting firms, which charge departments thousands of dollars to teach tactics more suited for war than for civil society.”
Further, Insider stated, “A common tactic for addressing racism at organizations is implicit-bias training, but studies have found that the program doesn’t change people’s behaviors.” Evidence presented to the US Commission on Civil Rights in Minneapolis-St. Paul in 2017, which was documented in a report titled “Civil Rights and Policing Practices in Minnesota,” said research indicates that implicit bias training “does not have lasting effects.” Further, “a number of studies suggest that it can activate bias or spark a backlash.”
“Now is a time for police departments to engage in serious conversations about racial profiling and wanton violence,” said Arjun Sethi, a human rights lawyer and professor at Georgetown University Law Center.
June 2020:Insider reported: “Police training programs often have little basis in scientific research, and experts say misinformation runs rampant without anyone to regulate it.” “Bill Lewinski, who trains police officers and often serves as an expert witness in cases, has been criticized by experts for relying too much on studies that lack rigor.”
Add to this problem the calls for police—who do face a threatening environment generally—to be provided routine preventative mental health services and to develop a culture where getting mental health “treatment” is promoted to them. You are looking at failed eugenics-based mental health services and treatment being given to police, which neither safeguards them or those being profiled.
“Infamous law enforcement trainer Dave Grossman is bringing ‘Killology’ to hospitals and high schools: Records from a ‘Bulletproof Mind’ training in Salem, Illinois show Grossman’s interest in diversifying his audience with ‘Safe Schools and Healthy Students,’” Muckrock, 9 May 2017, https://www.muckrock.com/tags/krg/
Jonathan M. Metzl, The Protest Psychosis, How Schizophrenia became a Black Disease, (Beacon Press, Boston, 2009), p. xi, citing Stokely Carmichael, “Black Power, A Critique of the Systems of International White Supremacy & International Capitalism,” in The Dialectics of Liberation, ed. David Cooper (Penguin, New York, 1968), p. xiv.