Officer in shooting respected, but with controversial past - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Officer in shooting respected, but with controversial past


MADISON (WKOW) -- Milwaukee musician and blogger Adam Schabow is a friend of Madison police officer Stephen Heimsness, and was also acquainted with the suspect Heimsness shot and killed Friday, Madison musician Paul Heenan.

"I just felt awful, the whole situation is awful, the whole situation is almost unthinkable," Schabow tells 27 News.

Madison Police Chief Noble Wray says Heimsness responded to a 911 call of a home invasion and drew his gun when he spotted two men fighting on Baldwin Street. Wray says one of the men was the homeowner, who was trying to get Heenan to his nearby home after Heenan mistakenly entered the wrong house. Wray says Heimsness ordered the men to the ground, and the homeowner raised his hands and backed away, but Wray says Heenan approached Heimsness and grabbed his arm, and Heimsness believed Heenan was going for his gun with his other hand, and fired shots at him.

Schabow says Heenan was well known in area music circles, but says Heimsness is also a musician. Schabow also knows Heimsness, a police union representative,  for the officer's off-duty work joining others at the state capitol in 2011 to protest Governor Walker's public employee collective bargaining limits.

"I think Steve is a very kind, generous person, I believe a well-respected police officer," Schabow tells 27 News. "Just a good person overall."

In 2001, Heimsness was suspended for fifteen days for using excessive force, after Heimsness fired gunshots at a fleeing car in a downtown Madison parking garage.

In 2010, city officials paid out $27,000 to Jacob Bauer of Madison in a settlement categorized as an officer using excessive force.

Bauer's attorney, Jeff Scott Olsen says Heimsness kicked a prone Bauer during an attempt to arrest Bauer in a Madison bar.

"We had witnesses who were employed by the establishment, who were accustomed to working with police, who were so shocked by what they saw, that they called 911 to report it," Scott Olsen says.

A Madison police internal investigation found no wrongdoing by Heimsness, and Dane County's district attorney filed no criminal charges.

Heimsness also received a commendation in 2003 for stopping the escape of an armed suspect.



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