Virtual Lecture and Panel

Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics at Harvard Law School

Harvard Law School Petrie-Flom Center – presents a virtual lecture and panel: Policing and the Brain: How Neuroscience Can Contribute to Police Reform. 

Event Description

The language of medical science has been used by law enforcement to justify police brutality. For example, a police officer present at the killing of George Floyd suggested that Floyd might have been experiencing “excited delirium,” a term that, while not recognized by major medical associations, is sometimes used by law enforcement to describe aggression resulting from illicit substance use.

Though there is potential for problematic and biased use of medical science by law enforcement, could neuroscience hold promise for shaping evidence-based reforms?

Join the conversation or submit questions on Twitter at @PetrieFlom using #LawandNeuro.


  • Introduction: Carmel Shachar, Executive Director, The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School
  • Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, University Distinguished Professor, Northeastern University and Chief Scientific Officer, Center for Law, Brain & Behavior (CLBB)
  • Judge (Ret.) Andre M. Davis, JD, Advisory Board Member, CLBB; Circuit Judge (ret.), the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit; and City Solicitor (ret.), Baltimore City Department of Law
  • Dr. Altaf Saadi, MD, MSc, Neurologist, Massachusetts General Hospital and Instructor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School
  • Moderator: Elyssa Spitzer, JD, Senior Fellow in Law and Applied Neuroscience, CLBB and the Petrie-Flom Center

Learn more about the issues.