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Ohio State Cancels Police 'Force Science' Training Session After Backlash

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The Ohio State University has canceled a training session hosted by an outside group using what it calls “force science” to explain the actions of police.

The Force Science Institute reserved space inside Ohio Stadium on March 12-13 to host training on the “foundational principles of force science.”

An event posting that’s since been deleted from the group’s website said attendees would “discover science-backed facts about some of the most controversial force issues,” including “how threatening suspects may be shot in the back by a well-trained officer who made a valid, lawful shooting decision” and “why officers, in high-adrenalin confrontations, will continue to fire what some commentators will judge as ‘unnecessary’ rounds.”

Groups that advocate against police brutality, including the Columbus-based Black, Queer and Intersectional Collective, were quick to criticize Ohio State for hosting the training. Members circulated a petition urging university president Michael Drake to cancel the event.

“Force Science aims to discredit and circumvent accountability for all instances involved force. There is no excessive force, just justifications for murder,” the group said in a Facebook post.

Ohio State spokesman Dan Hedman said Tuesday in an emailed 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.”

When reached by phone, Hedman said the Force Science Institute’s agenda was not representative of conversations with university officials when space was reserved.

Hedman referred further questions to the Force Science Institute, which did not respond to WOSU’s requests for comment.