Spokane Co Sheriff defends hosting “Killology” trainer, even as agency commits to improving racial disparity

Ozzie Knezovich Naacp Press Conference

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich defended hosting a law enforcement trainer who coined the term “killology” even as community protests over the training continue.

Lt. Dave Grossman is scheduled to give a training called “Mindset Bootcamp” in October. It’s being held at the Spokane County Sheriff’s Training Center.

Grossman is the director of the Killology Research Group. He’s a retired Army Ranger and martial arts expert who has written books on “Learning to Kill in War and Society” and “Warrior Mindset: Mental Toughness Skills for our Nation’s Peacekeepers.” His work has been celebrated in some law enforcement circles. It has also been criticized as encouraging the militarization of police.

Some people in Spokane have spoken out against the training and have made repeated calls for Sheriff Knezovich to cancel the training, especially in light of recent violence at protests and marches across the country. Nearly four thousand people have signed a petition calling for Knezovich to cancel the training.

As recently as Tuesday night, a group gathered in downtown Spokane to protest the upcoming training.

Wednesday morning, Sheriff Knezovich joined members of the NAACP to announce a ‘historic’ partnership between the agencies to improve relationships and also address racial disparities in sheriff’s office arrests. Sheriff Knezovich says an initial data audit shows the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office is arresting Black and Native Americans at disproportionate rates.

At the press conference, 4 News Now reporter Kaitlin Knapp asked about the training and where that fits in with conversations about improving community relationships.

“Quite frankly, a lot of information being put out about that is false,” Knezovich said. “Do you think any law enforcement CEO, chief, sheriff… would bring in training that trains law enforcement officers to kill without remorse? No. There’s no one that would ever do that. Because you would be sued and you would go to prison and that is the hypocrisy of what’s going on here.”

Sheriff says the training is about killing being the thing that should be avoided at all cost. He says “Sadly, we have to—at times—take a human life. And if you’ve never looked into the eyes of a deputy that has had to take a human life, you’ll never understand what I’m saying.”

“What I have is a group of progressive socialists that have decided that this training is not what it is. They’re actually promoting a lie,” Sheriff Knezovich said.

After the sheriff’s comments, though, NAACP Vice President Kiantha Duncan chimed in and said, “It is not just progressive liberals that are concerned about Killology. It’s really anyone that cares about the health of other people. Many people are concerned about this. It may be easier to say it’s just one group, but it’s actually not. There’s an entire community of folks who are concerned.”

Duncan said the NAACP can share their concerns with the sheriff and also plan to be at the training if and when it happens to report back to the community about the training.

“What would George Floyd say to training about Killology, that would be my question,” said Curtis Hampton, who was there as a concerned citizen and who is also active in the Carl Maxey Center.

Sheriff Knezovich pointed out again that the training is called Mindset Bootcamp. He said “an individual who is a socialist” posted the initial comments about the training on Facebook and “he’s the one that pinned Killology.” But, Grossman’s own agency is called the Killology Research Group. Knezovich recommended everyone in the room read his book “On Killing” before he comes to town.

Robinson stated the training was suspended. According to Corporal Mark Gregory with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office he said, “it’s going to be for community stakeholders for them to make up their own mind. It is not for law enforcement training.”

Gregory said Grossman will still come to the sheriff’s office training center in October for the one day class.

You can watch the full conference HERE.

This week, Spokane City Council Member Kate Burke floated a resolution that would “prohibit the use of so-called ‘Killology’ training for the Spokane Police Department.'” The resolution says, in part, “Training law enforcement officers in our community in ‘Killology’ can increase the likelihood of deadly force being used in our community.”

PAST COVERAGE: Organizations call for cancellation of ‘Killology’ seminar in letter addressed to Spokane Sheriff