Ohio State cancels police 'Force Science' event after community backlash

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — A police "Force Science" training event has been canceled at Ohio State University after criticism from the public.

The event was scheduled to take place on March 12-13 on Ohio State's campus.

Force Science Institute was the group behind the event. It focuses on the research and application of “unbiased scientific principles and processes to determine the true nature of human behavior in high stress and deadly force encounters.”

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In their curriculum, the group provides "science-backed facts about some of the most controversial force issues."

According to Force Science, this includes the following: "How threatening suspects may be shot in the back by a well-trained officer who made a valid, lawful shooting decision.” Or, “Why officers, in high-adrenalin confrontations, will continue to fire what some commentators will judge as ‘unnecessary’ rounds.”

Advocates against police brutality started a petition to stop Force Science Institute from coming to Ohio State. As of Wednesday evening, the petition had 486 signatures.

The petition states, "This language is incredibly disturbing and suggests that this class is little more than a training in how to get away with police brutality — legitimizing shooting civilians in the back, firing numerous rounds, and avoiding any slip-ups that could lead to any form of accountability for killer cops and justice for victims of police violence."

Ohio State spokesperson Dan Hedman said the decision to cancel was made during the weekend.

Hedman released the following statement:

"We have heard and understand the concerns raised by our community members and appreciate the feedback. The Department of Public Safety and its police division have decided that Ohio State will no longer host the training. Safety, inclusion and a sense of belonging are top priorities at Ohio State. We see this as the start of an important dialogue and a learning opportunity."

10TV reached out to Force Science Institute for a statement. They released the following:

"Although we were disappointed by Ohio State’s decision to cancel our training, we respect their desire to work with the consent and trust of their student community. Force Science has always been committed to training officers to recognize and safely de-escalate threats before any force becomes necessary. We have been privileged to train university officers and law enforcement across the nation and internationally and we are proud of our curriculum, including our de-escalation course, which was approved for national law enforcement accreditation. When force is used, we expect our research to help the agency, the courts, and the community to fairly assess the judgment and conduct of those involved.

Ohio State students may not have realized that Force Science concepts are not limited to law enforcement. This same research is vital to understanding and supporting some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. When self-defense becomes necessary in domestic violence or sexual assault cases, Force Science research and training prepares investigators to expertly assess the threats faced by these victims and compassionately judge the reasonableness of their responses. Force Science joins the students of Ohio State in their effort to promote the highest level of police professionalism and looks forward to any future opportunities to work with the university."