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From: Force Science Research Center []
Sent: Friday, April 08, 2005 8:20 PM
To: Steve Tuttle
Subject: FORCE SCIENCE NEWS: Transmission #16
Force Science News #16
April 8, 2005
The Force Science News is provided by The Force Science Research Center,
a non-profit institution based at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Subscriptions are free and sent via e-mail. To register for your free,
direct-delivery subscription, please visit and click
on the registration button.

A one-day seminar on the ground-breaking findings of the Force Science
Research Center regarding critical lethal-force issues and the impact
these studies have on street tactics, courtroom survival and internal
affairs investigations is scheduled for June 10 in the Seattle area.
"The Force Science Seminar: Winning Extreme Encounters From Street to
Court" featuring FSRC's executive director, Dr. Bill Lewinski, is open to
all LE personnel and other professionals engaged in investigating or
assessing officer-involved shootings and other significant uses of force.
You can register through the sponsor, the Kent (WA) Police Training
Center (see details below).
"For the first time, our researchers are scientifically documenting what
happens in deadly force confrontations," says Lewinski. "We're studying
suspect behavior and officer behavior and the dynamics that influence how
they interact--and the results are often very surprising. We're
destroying many persistent and dangerous myths and revealing data that is
rarely considered in shooting investigations.
"It's important for officers to understand this new information because
it directly affects their ability to survive on the street. Beyond that,
officers, trainers, IA and homicide investigators, prosecutors, review
board members, police attorneys and others need to be up to date on
what's really involved in shooting situations or they run the risk that
their misinterpretations will ruin an officer's career and life.
"More and more, agencies not only are being sued but officers are being
charged criminally or discharged from service after high-profile
shootings, when actually they are innocent of wrongdoing. It's just that
they and the people investigating and judging their actions simply don't
know how to properly interpret the facts and find the truth."

The 8-hour seminar was developed after the progressive Police Training
Center reached out to FSRC, seeking a full briefing on the practical
applications of new scientific discoveries to officer survival issues.
The material presented will be realistic and easily understood, yet in
many cases startling in terms of its ability to change thinking,
procedures and consequences. Key topics will include:
--How what is now known about action and reaction times should change
officer responses to lethal threats
--What constitutes an imminent threat vs. an immediate threat--and how an
officer needs to react to each to stay safe
--Which popular survival shortcuts don't work and actually slow down
reaction time
--How a suspect can present a face-to-face threat and end up legitimately
shot in the back
--Why ejected shell casings can cause investigators to misread a shooting
scene and draw false conclusions
--How tragic unintended discharges really occur--and how they can best be
--Why firing "extra" rounds is often unavoidable and should not be
interpreted as evidence of malice
--How "inattentional blindness" and the "funnel of concentration" affect
what an officer sees when threatened--and how to improve visual scope and
--How "scan patterns," especially when dealing with multiple suspects,
affect officer reactions and can lead to misinterpretations of a shooting
by eye witnesses
--What 3 levels of debriefing are necessary after a shooting
--How to properly document "state of mind" shootings that can otherwise
backfire against officers
--What officers, investigators, and police attorneys need to know about
how high stress affects memory-and how "cognitive interviewing" can
improve recall
--How and when officer statements should be taken after a life threat to
assure the most reliable record
--How the media can be briefed on street realities to improve your
chances of fair treatment and defuse community hostility

--How training needs to change to accommodate new discoveries about human
performance--and what officers can do on their own in the absence of
agency support
--What new Force Science studies are currently underway that promise to
change LE tactics and practices in the near future.
During the seminar there will be opportunity to pose questions about
force situations you're familiar with and solicit insights from Force
Science research that may help you resolve troublesome or controversial
Lewinski, who has specialized in LE behavior and psychology for 30 years,
is recognized internationally as a foremost researcher and authority on
use-of-force issues. One of the nation's most popular expert witnesses
for LE in civil and criminal cases, he has been responsible for saving
agencies millions of dollars in adverse judgments and for sparing
officers from unjustified convictions and prison sentences. He launched
the FSRC last year at Minnesota State University-Mankato.
"The Force Science Seminar: Winning Extreme Encounters From Street to
Court" will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 10 at the Washington State
Criminal Justice Training Commission Auditorium (the state academy),
19010 1st Ave., Burlien, WA. Admission is $95. The Auditorium is near the
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, making attendance even from distant
spots convenient. Officers and others are expected from multiple states.
To register and reserve seminar space, contact Kent PD Training Officer
Bill Blowers at 253-856-5858 or Records Specialist Robin Gaither at 253856-5853. Blowers is normally available from 0700 to 1700 Pacific time
Tues.-Fri. and Gaither from 0800 to 1700 Mon.-Fri., although you can
leave voice mail messages for callbacks at any time. Blowers or Gaither
can provide full information on registration, confirmation, and personal
payment or purchase order procedures. Walk-ins at the door are also
permitted if space is available.
Nearby lodging includes:
Doubletree Inn: 206-246-8600
Holiday Inn Express: 206-824-3200
Best Western Executel: 206-878-3300
Comfort Inn: 206-878-1100

All offer government rates and airport shuttle service.
If you have questions or problems, feel free to contact Scott Buhrmaster
with the Force Science Research Center via email at
or call (773) 481-4964. You will receive a prompt response.
NOTE: To assure the widest distribution of its important findings and
ongoing research, the Force Science Research Center is interested in
presenting the "The Force Science Seminar: Winning Extreme Encounters
From Street to Court" in other locations. If you would be interested in

hosting this program, please contact us for consideration at or call (773) 481-4964.
When you're dispatched to a call of a naked person out in public you'd be
like a lot of officers if you thought the matter was amusing.
But you'd probably be wrong-and in the worst of circumstances, dead
Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Research
Center at Minnesota State University-Mankato, has been tracking
encounters between officers and naked adults for more than 20 years.
"Every year or two, an officer is killed by a naked person," he says. "If
someone is naked in public and is not drunk, not making a radical
political or social protest, or not a paid professional like a stripper,
the chances are overwhelming that they're in the midst of a full-blown
psychotic episode. In the vernacular, they're really, really crazy...and
potentially very dangerous.
"The vast majority of police contacts with mentally ill subjects, of
course, are nonviolent. But naked people are among those categories that
are particularly difficult."
Lewinski, a behavioral scientist with a strong interest in mental
illness, became intrigued by this category of offender in the early 1980s
after reading about an officer who was called to deal with a naked man
singing from atop a street sign. "Flip remarks that the officer made back
to his dispatcher indicated that he took the incident as a joke,"
Lewinski recalls. "A lot of officers would consider it humorous."
In a matter of moments, the subject was down off the sign and the officer
was in a fight for his life. His attempts at empty-hand control were
ineffective. When he drew his impact weapon, the suspect grabbed it away
and beat him with it. When he ran toward his patrol car, the naked man
pursued him, disarmed him of his gun and killed him. "Things weren't so
funny any more," Lewinski notes.
"Some of the most dangerous people cops run into are naked offenders.
They're usually beyond your ability to influence verbally. They have a
heightened capacity to resist OC, impact weapons, even a Taser. Indeed,
where Tasers have failed it is most often in circumstances where the
subject is severely emotionally disturbed and/or chemically altered.
"If you don't acknowledge nakedness as a danger cue and approach the
situation with a strong officer-safety component, you are placing
yourself at great risk. More likely than not, these people are in a
delusional state and may perceive you as a threat to themselves."
Lewinski recommends a strong show of force at the outset by having
multiple officers respond. "The more officers you have present, the safer
the subject and the officers are likely to be. More officers equal fewer

injuries," assuming, of course, the cops are tactically astute. If your
agency has a mental health communications team, a member of that unit
ideally should be among the first to arrive.
"Stay away from the subject initially," Lewinski stresses. "Cops tend to
want to close distance, but people in the midst of a paranoid or
schizophrenic episode need greater space. Moving close puts you at
greater risk because it heightens their agitation and fear.
"Get some object or barrier between you and subject which can slow him
down and buy you time if an assault against you erupts."
Unless there is immediate danger, you'll want to attempt dialog, although
you will probably need an unconventional "intervention strategy" in order
to break through the subject's psychosis to a better level of
"One of the simplest and most effective techniques was worked out at a
mental health facility in Michigan," Lewinski says. "If you're the
primary contact officer you let out a sudden, loud scream while
dramatically clapping your hands, creating a loud burst that causes the
naked person to focus on you. This may momentarily distract him from his
psychosis and snap him back to reality. You may then be able to engage
him in conversation, build rapport and coax him into cooperation and
"The only chance this has of working, however, is if you can present a
calm face and gentle demeanor by the time the suspect focuses on you.
This change has to be immediate, so that by the time he looks at you you
appear placid and nonthreatening.
"This may not work. There are no guarantees. At best, it will open a
brief door for intervention, which may close again without warning."
Ultimately a use of force may be necessary. Gary Klugiewicz, a popular DT
trainer and a member of FSRC's National Advisory Board, teaches an emptyhand control method called the Star Technique for controlling EDPs.
But this requires training, teamwork and practice and is not currently
available in most departments.
Given the high risk of injury with unpracticed group hands-on methods,
the unpredictability of aerosol and electronic weapons, the incapacity
for meaningful dialog characteristic of psychotics, and their known
capability for explosive violence, realize that deadly force may end up
being necessary.
"Although a happier outcome is hoped for," Lewinski says, "the mental and
physical preparation to use lethal force should be present in these
circumstances from the beginning."
(For a gripping account of how 2 officers dealt with a naked father and
3 naked children on a major thoroughfare in Kenosha, WI, one morning last
week, go to and click on the article," Officers Share

Dramatic Details of Deadly Encounter With 300-lb. Naked Ex-Con" in Chuck
Remsberg's column area listed on the right side of the front page. This
report, based on an exclusive interview with one of the officers
involved, vividly illustrates the dangerousness and unpredictability that
Lewinski describes. It was written by Charles Remsberg, a member of
FSRC's National Advisory Board.)
NOTE: If you've had an experience with a naked EDP, we'd like to hear
from you. Just email us at with a description of what
happened, what was tried in terms of control, what worked and what didn't
and what the outcome was. We'll post a representative sampling of

A gangbanger...a suspicious cop...a furtive movement by the suspect...a
fatal shooting by the cop...and then, no offender weapon found--the
perfect ingredients for a toxic cocktail of controversy and compensatory
Now, after 2 tense years and 2 trials, the officer and his agency have
been exonerated, in part because of pertinent findings from the Force
Science Research Center.
The case began in 2003 when Deputy Max
(CA) Sheriff's Dept., on patrol in the
Compton, spotted a teenager dressed in
parked in front of a residence reputed

Fernandez of the Los Angeles
rough-and-tumble LA suburb of
gang apparel exiting from a car
to be a gang hangout and drug

Just as the kid approached the curb, Fernandez parked his squad car headon to the suspect's vehicle and about 30 feet back, and stepped out.
Spotting him, the suspect reached to his waistband, turned and ran back
toward his driver's door, Fernandez said later.
As he rounded his front left fender, the suspect continued to keep his
hand at his waistband. Then, stretching for his door handle with his left
hand, he suddenly and awkwardly thrust his right hand across his torso
and back toward the deputy.
Believing the suspect had drawn a gun and he was about to be fired on,
Fernandez shot first. The 'banger, later identified as a member of the
Palmer Block Crips, went down, wounded. Apparently trying to hide, he
crawled under the car, and later died.
Not only was he shot in the back but no gun was found on or near his
Eye witnesses reported seeing other gang members of near the car during
the turmoil immediately after the shooting. One witness said one of these
'bangers tucked something into his waistband before walking away, but no
weapon was ever recovered.

In the dead suspect's car, however, investigators did find multiple
rounds of 9mm ammunition, along with a $28,000 check that had been stolen
from a resident of the area when he was shot and killed the day before.
The inevitable lawsuit was filed on behalf of the suspect's survivors
against LA County and Deputy Fernandez, claiming the deputy had violated
the dead youth's civil rights by unjustifiably shooting him.
The initial trial produced a hung jury.
For the retrial, the defense engaged Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive
director of the FSRC at Minnesota State University-Mankato, as an expert
witness. In court, Lewinski carefully reviewed his unique studies of
reaction time, explaining that Fernandez needed to fire his sidearm as
soon as he perceived a threatening action by the suspect in order to
protect his own life. Based on his studies of human movement, he also
explained that Fernandez's round impacting the suspect's back was
consistent with the position the gangbanger had been in when making his
threatening motion, as opposed to the deputy deliberately and illegally
shooting a fleeing, nonthreatening subject.
FSRC National Advisory Board member Parris Ward produced dramatic
animation that helped to bring the reality of the case to the jury.
This time around, the jury found no liability on the part of Fernandez or
his agency.
The plaintiffs in this case were represented by attorneys from one of the
late Johnnie Cochran's law offices. LASD was represented by counsel for
the county, Elizabeth Miller and Dennis Gonzales.

Two new investigative projects supported by the Force Science Research
Center promise to have significant impact on officers' street
In Canada, Chris Lawrence, team leader of the defensive tactics training
section at the Ontario Police College in Alymer, has been funded by FSRC
to study the best means of teaching Ontario officers to prevent injuries
and deaths from excited delirium, the hyper physical and emotional state
often associated with in-custody casualties. Lawrence, a member of FSRC's
Technical Advisory Board, trains officers in pre- and post-event
management of excited delirium.
"It is expected that Chris's findings can be generalized and then
distributed internationally," says Dr. Bill Lewinski, FSRC's executive
director. "We are excited to be part of this study to shed light on a
mysterious phenomenon that has provoked considerable public criticism of
law enforcement."
FSRC has also offered encouragement and funding to Dr. Dan Houlihan of
the Psychology Dept. at MSU-Mankato. Houlihan has spent much of his

career studying "command-resistant" schoolchildren. At Lewinski's urging,
he is now shifting his focus to lethal-force police encounters, hoping to
apply his classroom assessment tools to street situations.
"At best," says Lewinski, "we will be able to determine the type and
style of commands that are most effective in controlling resistant
subjects. At the very least we should be able to identify the commands
most likely to fail with various subjects, including those that are
command resistant."
Preliminary results from these studies are expected as early as late
summer and will be reported in Force Science News.
NOTE: To aid in Houlihan's study, FSRC is seeking videotapes of highintensity police-subject encounters where commands can be heard and their
effect--or lack of effect--can be analyzed. Examples showing ultimately
either the use of force, including deadly force, or of a peaceful
resolution are needed. Please send copies to:
Dr. Bill Lewinski, Executive Director
Force Science Research Center
Minnesota State University-Mankato
109 Morris Hall
Mankato MN 56001
Your cooperation and contribution to this important research are greatly

"To be a cop means you experience humanity at a level of skinned-alive
--from the excellent book "Blue Blood," by NYPD detective Edward Conlon

Is the "21-foot Rule," a standby in edged-weapon defense for more than 20
years, still valid...or is it a dangerous myth that should be put to
Force Science takes a look at what the facts say about protecting
yourself from getting cut or stabbed by knife-wielding offenders!
Watch your email!

(c) 2005: Force Science Research Center, Reprints
allowed by request. For reprint clearance, please e-mail: FORCE SCIENCE is a registered trademark of The
Force Science Research Center, a non-profit organization based at
Minnesota State University, Mankato.

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