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NY Times looks at role of paid experts in exonerating police officers

Police officers walk towards a group of protesters, 2020.
Mike Damron
Police officers walk towards a group of protesters, 2020.

An investigation by the New York Times took a closer look at the growing network of paid experts, doctors and researchers, used to defend police departments whenever a person dies in police custody.

Investigative Reporter Jennifer Valentino-DeVries and her colleagues scoured over 25,000 pages of court documents and conducted over 30 interviews — to make sense of why the same experts, including a San Diego emergency doctor, Dr. Gary Vilke, were routinely sought out to provide testimony that absolved police officers of guilt.

They found, what they're calling a “cottage industry of exoneration.”


Valentino-Devries joined Midday Edition on Wednesday to discuss the findings of the investigation.

KPBS has created a public safety coverage policy to guide decisions on what stories we prioritize, as well as whose narratives we need to include to tell complete stories that best serve our audiences. This policy was shaped through months of training with the Poynter Institute and feedback from the community. You can read the full policy here.