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What is "auditory exclusion"?

Officer Betty Shelby’s attorney, Scott Wood, told the court his client experienced “auditory exclusion”, and didn’t even hear the fatal gunshot.

Officer Betty Shelby’s attorney, Scott Wood, told the court his client experienced “auditory exclusion”, and didn’t even hear the fatal gunshot. But what does that really mean?

It may sound like something you expect to read in a medical journal, and you will. But you’ll also hear it in the case of Officer Shelby, in a courtroom.

“The tunnel vision comes and you stop hearing what’s going on around you,” says FOP President Sergeant Patrick Stephens. “Because you’re so focused on what’s going on in front of you.”

The sergeant says he’s experienced it and it’s all too real. He cites an instance when he had to draw his weapon and fire to protect himself from a charging, aggressive dog.

“Shooting a dog that was attacking me, the first thing that came back was smell,” he remembers. ”I remember smelling gun smoke and thinking ‘Oh that’s odd.’ Because I didn’t think my gun had gone off, but it had.”

He says it’s a phenomenon not exclusive to law enforcement.

“I’ve even had hunting buddies tell me about when they’re taking their first shot at a deer and their heart rate is going up, “he says. “All they see is that deer in their scope.”

Sergeant Stephens declined to speak on the facts of Officer Shelby’s case. He doesn’t know what she saw at the scene before we all saw and helicopter video or how she saw it.

“None of us were there,” he says. “And that’s the point. So we’ve got to wait for due process to take its place. And that will be her day in court.”

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