The shooting looked bad. But that is when the professor is at his best. A black motorist, pulled to the side of the road for a turn-signal violation, had stuffed his hand into his pocket. The white officer yelled for him to take it out. When the driver started to comply, the officer shot him dead.
The driver was unarmed.
Taking the stand at a public inquest, William J. Lewinski, the psychology professor, explained that the officer had no choice but to act.
“In simple terms,” the district attorney in Portland, Ore., asked, “if I see the gun, I’m dead?”
“In simple terms, that’s it,” Dr. Lewinski replied.
When police officers shoot people under questionable circumstances, Dr. Lewinski is often there to defend their actions. Among the most influential voices on the subject, he has testified in or consulted in nearly 200 cases over the last decade or so and has helped justify countless shootings around the country.