Bill Lewinski testifies for a trigger-happy cop. Again

Remember our cover story on Bill Lewinski, the former professor of "force science" at the Minnesota State University of Mankato who testifies as an expert witness on behalf of trigger-happy cops? He's back in the news, in a high-profile case in which a police officer shot and killed an unarmed civilian.

Lewinski, who has built a career as a well-paid expert witness using his academic bona fides to defend officers accused of excessive force, has consulted on hundreds of cases, always on the side of the police. He even testified that the officers who riddled Duy Ngo with machine-gun fire may have been acting reasonably.

Last week Lewinski testified on behalf of Johannes Mehserle, the former transit police officer who shot an unarmed 22-year-old in the back last year in Oakland. Mehserle has claimed that he thought he was shooting Oscar Grant with a Taser, and not his handgun.

Lewinski gave the jury in Mehserle's trial the same explanation he has given in many other cases: that according to his scientific research, it's normal for cops in stressful situations to overlook some pieces of information that later turn out to be important. In this case, Mehserle is claiming that he confused the two weapons, one of which weighs nearly two pounds more than the other.

Lewinski was in good company on the witness stand: another defense witness, Greg Meyer, admitted to the prosecutor that he had testified on behalf of one of the officers who beat Rodney King.

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