Showing posts with label Madison Wisconsin Police shooting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Madison Wisconsin Police shooting. Show all posts

Feb 25, 2013

Chief Couper on Police Investigating Police Misconduct

Why was this peaceful man shot and killed in 2012?
"It is very difficult (and painful) for a police department to criticize or discipline one of its own. Why? Because in many instances of police review, those who are doing the reviewing know that 'there but for the grace of God go I.' This has a chilling effect especially when it comes to the use of force. Policing is a difficult job. And a community needs to support their police when they are doing a good job and ask for change and improvement when they are not."
- Madison Police Chief David Couper (ret), author of Arrested Development - A Veteran Police Chief Sounds off About Protest, Racism, Corruption, and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation's Police

Thoughtful discussion is needed; though none of this will have an effect on Paul Heenan and his loved ones. Heenan was unarmed and shot and killed by Madison Police Officer Stephen Heimsness on November 9, 2012.

I know many law enforcement personnel. And they are appalled when an innocent man is killed.

But the fact is police do gin-up police reports, act on prejudices and biases, cover-up, and in the words of Alan Dershowitz: Routinely testi(lie) in open court.

Outside investigation (Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is open to the idea) is not an option; it's an imperative.

Paul Heenan's father, John: "John Heenan told 27 News' his lifelong confidence in the actions of police officers was close to shattered by his son's death. 'I used to trust them. I used to not question anything. I question things now,' he said."

Feb 6, 2013

Madison, Wisconsin Citizens Start Petition: Police Killed Our Roommate; Review Force Now

Paul Heenan at right
Former Madison, Wisconsin police chief David Couper has been thoughtfully posing questions about what the community should do about the killing of an unarmed man, Paul Heenan, by a Madison police officer.

A petition has been started by former roommates of Heenan's, as they grieve the loss of a loved one. Peace, examination and thoughtful action in Madison, Wisconsin:
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By Nathan and Amelia Royko Maurer


When our roommate and close friend Paulie [Heenan] was killed by Officer [Stephen] Heimsness, he was just trying to come home. Paulie had moved in only a few days before, and in the dark he mistook the nearly identical house two doors down for ours. Our neighbor recognized him and tried to make sure he made it home safely. His wife, unsure of what was going on, decided to call the police as a precaution. Paulie never made it home.

Officer Heimsness shot Paulie even though he was unarmed and, according to eyewitness accounts, backing away with his hands up.

We're devastated that Paulie is dead. Then we found out that Officer Heimsness has a dangerous pattern of taking violent force too far. We don't feel safe with Heimsness or other officers with records like his on the streets, so we started a petition demanding that the Madison Police Chief take Officer Heimsness off the streets and review the department's policy on use of force.

Click here to sign our petition.

Paulie was one of our best friends. When he decided to move back to Madison after 8 years in New York, we were thrilled. Paulie was your go-to guy for lending a helping hand or repairing broken stuff: your car, your computer, your heart. He played music with our daughter and read to her.

Officer Heimsness ran onto the scene without identifying himself as a police officer, with his gun already drawn. Despite years of training in non-lethal tactics, he shot Paulie three times in the chest. His backup officer, by contrast, had just arrived with her Taser -- not a gun -- drawn.

Heimsness' record of allegedly using excessive force stretches back to 2001. He's apparently even gone so far as to beat one man into a bloody pulp. We don't trust someone with this record of poor judgment to patrol the streets of Madison.

Police most effectively keep neighborhoods safe when they have the trust of those they protect. Thanks to Heimsness' reckless actions, that trust has been seriously eroded. Megan O'Malley, our neighbor who called the police that night, told one reporter, "I feel terrible I called the police. I wouldn't call them again."

Please join us in calling on the Madison Police Chief to do everything in their power to take Officer Stephen Heimsness off the streets and to review the Madison Police Department's use of force policy so no more people needlessly die at one of their officers' hands.

Thanks for your help,

Nathan and Amelia Royko Maurer