How Paid Experts Help Exonerate Police After Deaths in Custody

Inside the self-reinforcing ecosystem of people who advise, train and defend officers. Many accuse them of slanting science and perpetuating aggressive tactics.

New York Times

By Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Mike McIntire, Rebecca R. Ruiz, Julie Tate and Michael H. Keller
Photo: NYT

When lawyers were preparing to defend against a lawsuit over a death in police custody in Fresno, Calif., they knew whom to call.

Over the past two decades, Dr. Gary Vilke has established himself as a leading expert witness by repeatedly asserting that police techniques such as facedown restraints, stun gun shocks and some neck holds did not kill people.

Officers in Fresno had handcuffed 41-year-old Joseph Perez and, holding him facedown on the ground, put a spinal board from an ambulance on his back as he cried out for help. One officer sat on the board as they strapped him to it. The county medical examiner ruled his death, in May 2017, a homicide by asphyxiation.



Publish : 2021-12-27 21:45:00

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