Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Criminal Justice

Degree Program

Criminal Justice, PhD

Committee Chair

Vito, Gennaro

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Hughes, Thomas

Committee Member

Hughes, Thomas

Committee Member

Walsh, William

Committee Member

Gagne, Patricia

Author's Keywords

police lethal force; mental illness; emotion dysregulation; police communications; split second syndrome


This multi-case, exploratory research study examined videos and related news media articles of lethal police shootings and found commonalities and possible contributing factors. Videos and informational articles posted on news media websites in the public domain were used in a qualitative content analysis to identify common elements in police lethal force incidents. The results of this study revealed contributing behaviors by the participants related to mental illness that contribute to lethal force. The decision to use lethal force by a police officer is framed using four analytical themes.