Deadly Force Mindset as Justifiable Defense Questioned

The science of neurobiology and neuropsychology used to defend officers in shooting incidents has been described as arbitrary at best. Many experts contend there simply is not enough peer-reviewed material to substantiate it as an exculpatory defense.

Federal judges are to use the Daubert Standard to determine whether testimony from an expert witness is based on sound scientific principles and thus admissible into evidence. Stemming from the 1993 Supreme Court case Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharms, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), it states that expert testimony should be based on widely accepted peer-reviewed material. The science of police psychology has not amassed a large amount of peer-reviewed material. It was not even recognized by The American Psychological Association until 2013. Professor of psychology and law at Western Illinois University, Kimberly McClure stated, “We simply don’t have enough scholarship related to officers’ decisions during lethal force encounters to meet the Daubert criteria for science in the area.”

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