Killology Research Group

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The Killology Research Group is led by David Grossman, a retired Army Lt. Col who has never killed a person.

Nonetheless, David is widely regarded as the expert on killing.

He’s written and published a book entitled “On Killing,” lectured more than a hundred police departments, thousands of police officers, and has provided his courses to eager law enforcement personnel for over more than 20 years.

Excerpts of his courses include the following quotes:

If you properly prepare yourself, killing is just not that big a deal

Cop says 'gunfight...bad guys down. I'm alive!' Finally get home at the end of the incident and...they all say...the best sex I've had in months!! [1] And that “very intense sex,” and one of the “perks that come with the job.

"The policeman is the man of the city,” Grossman begins, before explaining that cops he’s spoken to routinely describe their first on-the-job kill as a prelude to the best sex of their lives. “Both partners are very invested in some very intense sex,” Grossman says. “There’s not a whole lot of perks that come with this job. You find one, relax and enjoy it.”[2]

False Claims

The number of dead cops has exploded like nothing we have ever seen,” Grossman falsely tells the armed citizens in Lakeport. (That is not true: The average annual number of police officers intentionally killed while on duty in the past decade is 40 percent lower than it was in the 1980s.)[3]

Despite claims that crime has never been higher, the US is not more dangerous, but less so.[4]

In recent years the material provided by Killology has earned criticism from academia for making dubious psychological claims and policymakers regarding the role these courses have played in making law enforcement more deadly.

For instance, after exposure to Killology course material, the Minneapolis/St. Paul police killings of Justine Damond[5], Philando Castile[6], Jamar Clark[7], Cordale Handy[8], and Thurman Blevins[9] all happened in a matter of less than 100 seconds.

Referencing the work of one of a citizen journalist:

Although Grossman cites a few other pieces of evidence from military history to support his “killology” thesis, S.L.A. Marshall’s “hard data” is the centerpiece of his argument regarding the inability to kill: most of what remains is either derived from Marshall or anecdotal in nature.

Since it is Marshall that forms the core of evidence underlying many of Grossman’s claims about killing in war, there are obvious problems inherent to reading the “killology” literature without reservation (Engen).

Thus, there is no evidence to support Grossman’s creative thesis – that there is an innate resistance to killing, so much so that the majority of soldiers will not even kill; thus, if they are to kill, they must be psychologically prepared for it.

In Engen’s assessment, “the theory of an innate, biological resistance to killing has little support in either evolutionary biology or in what we know about psychology.” And with S.L.A. Marshall’s “rate of fire” research debunked, “there is little basis in military history for such a theory either” (Engen). Although he seems aware of the charges against him, Grossman brushes them off in the revised edition of On Killing (2009), suggests that this “small group of scholars” is disrespecting Marshall, and re-states the biologically untenable claim that “man is not by nature a killer” (xvi). He also suggests that the book’s popularity in military circles is “the ultimate acid test” validating his ideas (xv).

Corporate Information

Killology Research Group LLC is an education and training consultancy that provides services to law enforcement, and are incorporated in Arkansas, Ohio, and Illinois.

All three corporate entities are associated in various secretary of state filings with Former Army Lt. Col David Grossman, who also operates a variety of related companies, including, but not limited to the following:

Examples of Fatal Consequences

Philando Castile, who had been stopped 52 times over the course of 14 years, and paid thousands of dollars in citations[10], as willed in 2016 by an officer that had recently attended a Killology Course.

Although he had no criminal record beyond traffic misdemeanors, Castile was known to the St. Anthony Police Department, which patrolled the town where the fatal traffic stop occurred. Jeronimo Yanez, the St. Anthony, Minnesota Police Officer who fatally shot Castile[11], underwent “Bulletproof Warrior” officer survival indoctrination that imparts what one police trainer calls a “paranoid” and “militaristic” mindset.

Officer Yanez reportedly believed that Castile broadly resembled a suspect in a recent armed robbery. This may explain why he made what appears to be a “pretext stop.” It neither explains nor justifies why he opened fire on a citizen who was compliant, and who possessed a valid carry permit.[12]

The officer’s attorney insists that the mere presence of a gun was sufficient to trigger the officer’s lethal reaction – which makes sense, given that Yanez had been marinated in Calibre’s “officer safety” alarmism.

Community Reaction

"I oppose that Bulletproof Warrior training! That man [Yanez] with that same training murdered my son. He murdered my baby!" - Valerie, Philando Castile's mother, speaks about the seminars she says trains police "to become terrorists."[13]

In 2018, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arrandondo announced:

“After careful consideration, the Minneapolis Police Department has decided it will not be sending any officers to this week’s BulletProof training. While we hold the safety of our community members and our officers in the highest regard, our policing model is built on a community of trust. We do not want to attend any training that could, in any way, shake the foundation of trust.”[14]

In 2020, George Floyd’s death has refocused attention on “warrior-style” police training, which Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey banned last year, and which may help explain how yet another unarmed African-American suspect was killed after being detained.

Citing the 2016 death of Philando Castile, a 32-year-old African-American man who was shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop with his girlfriend and her daughter in the car with him, Frey banned police from using “fear-based training” in April 2019.

“Fear-based training violates the values at the very heart of community policing,” Frey said.

“When you’re conditioned to believe that every person encountered poses a threat to your existence, you simply cannot be expected to build out meaningful relationships with those same people.”

Frey specifically mentioned the classes taught to police in Minnesota and the rest of the country by Dave Grossman.

Minneapolis Police Union president Lt. Bob Kroll said the ban was illegal. “It’s not about killing, it’s about surviving,” Kroll said. He also announced that the union would offer the training to officers during off-duty hours.[15]

For Activists

By adhering to the counsel of Killology Research Group’s educators, law enforcement officers and federal officials who have attended a lecture or taken a Killology course have been conditioned to act in a manner no longer “objectively reasonable,” considering the facts and circumstances confronting them.

As such, David Grossman can be thanked for making it easier for activists to secure a criminal conviction or a civil judgement in response to an inappropriate use of deadly force.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the use of deadly force to effect an arrest or prevent the escape of a suspect unless the police officer reasonably believes that the suspect committed or attempted to commit crimes involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical injury and a warning of the intent to use deadly physical force was given, whenever feasible (Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (1985))[16].

The Court has said that the test of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment is not capable of “precise definition” or “mechanical application” (Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 559 (1979))[17].

The Court goes on to state, “[t]he reasonableness of a particular use of force must be viewed from the perspective of a reasonable officer at the scene, rather than with 20/20 vision of hindsight” (Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 396, 397 (1989))[18].

Additionally, there must be “allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments—in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving—about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.”

The question is whether the officers' actions are “objectively reasonable” considering the facts and circumstances confronting them.

Let's dig in a little on the statement:

There must be “...allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments—in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving—about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.”

By encouraging officers to kill, to embrace the glory of being a warrior, and particularly with the reward of “intense sex,” the Killology Research Group’s training removes a layer of subjective-objective reasoning that had informed the Supreme Court's determination of the appropriate use of deadly force.

When an officer is on trial for murder, the test for evaluating statutory self-defense claims is a subjective-objective test. The jury must first determine whether the defendant honestly believed that the use of deadly force was necessary in the circumstances.

If the jury determines that the defendant in fact had believed that the use of deadly force was necessary, the jury must make a further determination as to whether that belief was reasonable, from the perspective of a reasonable police officer in the defendant's circumstances (State v. Smith, 73 Conn. App. 173, cert den. 262 Conn. 923 (2002))[19].

Officers and federal officials who have been exposed to Killology Research Group materials are not capable of satisfactorily meeting the standards set by the U.S. Supreme Court.

There are various methods and tools which can be used to reveal which officers and law enforcement agencies have been exposed to materials from the Killology Research Group. For instance, FOIAs can be filed, seeking access to official documentation via formally-endorsed means, and one can peruse the Blueleaks archives[20], available via many sources.