When it comes to people successfully standing up to bad police practices, Professor Gregory Gilbertson, the CEO of Gilbertson Investigations, Inc., has proven to be a force to be reckoned with as an expert witness. As a direct result of Gilbertson’s investigations and testimony, two problem Washington police agencies have been hit right where it hurts – in the pocketbook for a combined judgment total of $9 Million.
Professor Gilbertson has been a tenured criminal justice professor and university lecturer for 25 years. He’s also a former Georgia police officer, International Police Advisor (Iraq and Afghanistan), Guardian ad Litem, U.S. Army Infantry Officer, and Distinguished Military Graduate of the U.S. Army Officer Candidate School. After completing his military service, Professor Gilbertson became a police officer in Atlanta and LaGrange, Georgia. In LaGrange he served as a SWAT Team member, senior patrolman, school resource officer, juvenile court investigator, and stakeout squad officer.
As a private investigator, Professor Gilbertson specialized in criminal defense casework for 12 years. In 2014 he began consulting as an Expert Witness in Police Practices. To date he has consulted on over 117 civil rights and criminal cases in 22 states and the District of Columbia. He has testified on numerous occasions in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, the District of Arizona, and in the state courts of Washington, Oregon. Illinois, Kansas, and Connecticut. As of this publishing, Professor Gilbertson has helped attorneys achieve well over ten million dollars ($10,000,000.00) in judgments and settlements for his clients.
Three recent cases that Professor Gilbertson was instrumental in bringing to settlement are out of Pierce and King counties in the State of Washington.
$3.5-Million excessive force suit settlement
On September 7, 2021, Pierce County Council approved a $3.5-million settlement in the case of The Estate of Brent Lee Heath vs. Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and Deputy Carl Shanks.
This case involved a police pursuit that began as a result of a minor traffic violation and ended when Brent Lee Heath’s car was disabled by spike strips. Pierce County Deputy Sheriff Carl Shanks then approached Heath’s car on the passenger side. Heath’s vehicle was completely disabled and surrounded by at least 5-6 other deputies off the roadway. Heath’s passenger had been suffering a seizure at the time of the incident and when the officers approached. From the passenger side window of the car Deputy Shanks inexplicably shot Mr. Heath in the head, just missing the passenger. No other deputies fired. Heath was unarmed at the time Deputy Shanks shot him, and he had not moved from the driver’s seat of the vehicle. Mr. Heath lived for one year, completely disabled and unable to speak or care for himself, before he died in his mother’s care.
$4-Million excessive force suit settlement
Estate of Jesse S. Sarey v. City of Auburn, WA and Officer Jeffrey Nelson, Excessive Force Complaint for Damages and Civil Rights Violations, reached settlement in the sum of $4-million dollars to be paid to Sarey’s estate.
Auburn, Washington Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson responded to a disorderly conduct call at a local store. His contact with the alleged perpetrator ended when he shot Jesse Sarey in the torso and then, over 3 seconds later, shot him in the head. Mr. Sarey was unarmed at the time of the incident. Backup officers arrived at the scene within minutes and were able to restore Sarey’s pulse, but he later died at a hospital. The video is quite telling and shows why Officer Jeffrey Nelson was charged with 2nd Degree Murder and 1st Degree Assault in King County Superior Court on August 20, 2020.
$1.5-Million wrongful death suit settlement
In the case of The Estate of Che Andre Taylor vs. City of Seattle et al, the government defendants made arrangements to pay Taylor’s estate $1.5-million dollars for their part in the wrongful death of Che Andre Taylor.
Taylor was initially approached by two plain clothes police officers on February 21, 2016 on the suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Taylor was seen on video as being compliant with multiple law enforcement orders but multiple, simultaneous, contradictory commands were shouted at him as Seattle Police Officers Scott M. Miller and Michael B. Spaulding approached him with their weapons raised and pointed at him. On the video you can clearly hear commands of “Show me your hands, hands up…” and “Get on the ground, Get on the ground…” It was impossible for anyone to perfectly comply. Because the officers say they saw him reaching for a weapon, they shot Taylor to death with point-blank blasts. Taylor did not have a weapon on his person. It is impossible to know if Taylor thought the officers were police or just heavily armed thugs trying to rob him. They never stated they were police and their clothes did not identify them as such.
Accolades For Gilbertson From a Presiding Judge
In a recent U.S. District Court trial in the Western District of Washington, Moises E. Ponce Alvarez v. King County Sheriff’s Office, the presiding judge entered the following opinion regarding Defendant’s motion to exclude Professor Gilbertson’s testimony: “Mr. Gilbertson’s qualifications demonstrate extensive experience in policing. His experience includes work as a Georgia police officer, SWAT team officer, superior court investigator, school resource officer, stakeout squad officer, and senior patrolman. After his law enforcement career, Mr. Gilbertson became a college professor and private investigator. He has taught courses in criminal justice and conducted pretrial investigations for attorneys in criminal cases. The Court finds his testimony can be expected to have a reliable basis in knowledge and experience.”
One thing is certain, if your case involves corrupt or incompetent policing, Professor Gilbertson will flush it out and professionally relay his findings to the court and jury. He makes for an exemplary expert witness. While Gilbertson Investigations, Inc. is based in Olympia, Washington, Gilbertson is available for casework nationwide.