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© 2016 by William Harmening. Proudly created with Wix.com

NOTICE: I recently retired after a 37-year law enforcement career, and also from teaching college, which I've had the pleasure of doing for the past 20+ years. That leaves only my expert witness services. I am now ready to begin a slow burn into full retirement. Effective immediately, I will no longer take new cases except from the attorneys I have had the privilege of working with these past five years. I will also continue to act as an independent expert for D.A.s when requested. Thank you for considering me, and best of luck!       B.H.

Bringing 37 years of academic and professional experience to one of the toughest areas of civil litigation.

Since the turmoil in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, the need for knowledgeable and qualified expert witnesses in the areas of police practices and use of force has become more important than ever, both to insure justice for the victims of excessive force, and to protect dedicated police officers who act appropriately and within the law. Having served as the Plaintiff's expert in essentially every police shooting that occurred in St. Louis during the unrest in Ferguson, as well as a number that have happened since, I have experienced firsthand the impact these cases can have on a community. I recognize the importance of my task, and the need to pursue a truthful and objective analysis of the facts. 

Services Offered

When I complete a case analysis, I typically submit a final report that includes each of the following sections. I can also perform any one of them individually. For example, I have been contracted in the past to assist only in a Daubert motion.

1. Incident scene reconstruction

2. Force analysis

3. Evaluation of police investigation

4. Evaluation of opposing expert's report (with Daubert/Frye affidavit if desired)

Free Case Review

I do not charge for an initial case review. Before agreeing to work a case,  I review the available documents, videos, and evidence to determine if my qualifications and expertise are sufficient to offer an expert opinion on the matter in question. If I agree to work a case after my initial review, then a contract will be forwarded to the appropriate attorney. I do not require a retainer. 

Advanced Taser Training 04/11/2018

Recently I had the opportunity to complete a certification course in Taser Evidence Recovery and Analysis through Axon Corp., the maker of the X26 and X2 Tasers favored by law enforcement. The Taser is a relatively uncomplicated device, however there are a number of pieces of evidence that are available with each deployment that can be difficult to properly understand. If you have a case involving a Taser deployment, it is critical that you engage an expert who can wade through this evidence and make sense of it. And not just the physical evidence left behind by the Taser, but also the digital evidence that can be downloaded from the Taser itself. 

The Michael Brown Report 06/21/2017
About Me...

In addition to my 37 years in law enforcement, first as a deputy sheriff, and for the last 24 years as a special agent for the State of illinois, I'm also privileged to teach at one the nation's top research institutions, Washington University in St. Louis. At WU I teach a number of courses in the Forensic Psychology program, an undergraduate certificate program that I personally developed from the ground up. The courses I teach include forensic psychology, criminology, and crisis intervention, among others. Additionally, I have authored four widely used textbooks, two of which deal at length with the subject of deadly force by the police. You can find my books, as well as my CV, under the link above. 

New Documentary

A new documentary has been released on the case of Dontre Hamilton in Milwaukee, WI. I had the opportunity to serve as the expert witness on this case. Dontre was a young man suffering from mental illness who was shot and killed by a Milwaukee police officer. His only crime was sleeping in a city park.

I served as the expert witness in this case on behalf of the Brown family. I completed an independent investigation and filed with the Court an Expert Opinion Report detailing what the evidence shows actually happened that day in Ferguson. While the terms of the settlement were sealed by the Court, my report was not. You may download a copy by clicking on the PDF link below...

Case Activity

Estate of Cedrick Chatman v. City of Chicago, United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois,

13 CV 5697: Settlement - $3,000,000

Michael Brown, Sr. et al. v. City of Ferguson et al., United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri,

15 CV 00831: Settlement - $1,500,000

Estate of Dontre Hamilton v. City of Milwaukee, United States District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin,

16 CV 507: Settlement - $2,300,000

Estate of James Hall v. City of Fontana CA, Superior Court of the State of California, CIVDS 1621023: Settlement - $975,000

(Name ommitted) v. Cook County Sheriff, Cook County Sheriff's Merit Board, MB1908: Disposition - Job reinstatement.

Estate of John Deming Jr. v. City of Pleasanton CA , United States District Court, Northern District of California, C16-02964-CRB: Settlement - $285,000

Estate of Jorge Ramirez v. City of Bakersfield CA , Superior Court of California, S-1500-CV-282107: Settlement - $400,000

Estate of Terrance Sterling v. District of Columbia, Superior Court for the District of Columbia, 2016 CA  009092 B: Settlement - $3,500,000

(Name omitted) v. Lake City GA, United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia, 1:17-CV-01094-TCB: Settlement- $350,000 (unlawful arrest case).

Estate of Jason Alderman v. Bakersfield CA, United States District Court, Eastern District of California, 1:16-CV-00994-DAD-JLT: Settlement - $100,000

Estate of Jason Fanning v. St. Joseph MO, United States District Court, Western District of Missouri, 17-06073-CV-SJ-SWH: Settlement - $450,000.

Estate of Destry Meikle v. City of Republic MO, United States District Court, Western District of Missouri, 6:17-CV-3194-DPR: Settlement - $1,200,000.

Estate of Casimero Casillas v. City of Fresno CA, United States District Court, Eastern District of California, 1:16-CV-1042-AWI-SAB: Trial - $4,750,000 judgement.

Gerald Cole v. City of Indianapolis, Federal District Court, Southern District of Indiana, 1:16-cv-03081-WTL-MJD: Settlement - $2,150,000.

Estate of Anthony Soderberg v. Los Angeles, Federal District court, Central District of California, CV18-03861 FMO (JPRx): TBA.

Estate of Miguel Gonzalez v. Bernalillo County NM, Federal District Court of New Mexico, 1:18-CV-00125-KG-LF: Settlement - $130,000

Estate of Nicholas Dyksma v. Harris County GA, Federal District Court, Middle District of Georgia, 4:17-CV-00041-CDL: Settlement - $500,000.

Estate of Sergio Valdovinos v. Madera CA, Federal District Court, Eastern District of California, 1:19-CV-00035-DAD-SAB: Settlement - $2,100,000.

(Name omitted) v. Kern County CA, Federal District Court, Eastern District of California, 1:18-CV-00347-DAD-JLT: Settlement - $175,000 (unlawful arrest case).

Estate of Donnie Robertson v. Corporal C.J. Deitz, Federal District Court, Western Division of Virginia, 5:18-CV-00067-EKD: Settlement - Confidential.

ARTICLES!

CLOSING THE REACTIONARY GAP FOR GOOD!

If you've ever been on the plaintiff's side of an excessive force case, you no doubt were confronted with something called the "reactionary gap." Pro-police experts routinely use it to help justify an officer's actions. The article provides a strategy for challenging the use of this piece of pseudoscience.

GO TO ARTICLE

PERCEPTUAL DISTORTION (But whose perception is being distorted?).

And informative article about one of the popular arguments used by pro-police experts to help justify just about any questionable use of force.

GO TO ARTICLE