City paid $56,000 in connection with officer's past actions - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

City paid $56,000 in connection with officer's past actions


MADISON (WKOW) -- Dane County court and Madison city records show $56,000 was paid to four people in connection with Madison police officer Stephen Heimsness' shooting at a suspect's fleeing car.

On Monday, Police Chief Noble Wray said Heimsness shot and killed Paul Heenan, of Madison, on November 9, after Heenan defied orders to get down on the ground, grabbed Heimsness' arm and was going for the officer's gun.

On June 27, 2001, Heimsness fired at a fleeing car in a downtown, city parking lot. Police officials suspended Heimsness for 15 days for using excessive force in the incident.

Records show the car's driver and three passengers filed lawsuits against Heimsness, officer David Gouran and the city of Madison over what happened.

Assistant city attorney Roger Allen tells 27 News the car's driver, Jeffrey Elser was paid $12,500, and passengers Brain Blank, Jami Davidson and Chad Maple were each paid $14,500  as part of the city's settlement of the lawsuits.

Court documents state both Heimsness and Gouran drew their guns in response to the car driving away in the parking lot, but only Heimsness fired shots.

In a separate legal settlement, the city paid $27,000 in 2010 to Jacob Bauer, after Bauer filed a claim alleging Heimsness used excessive force in arresting Bauer in a downtown bar.

Attorney Jeff Scott Olsen tells 27 News Heenan's wife and parents have retained him to explore possible legal action in connection with Heenan's death.

Wray says Heenan was unarmed November 9, and mistakenly entered a neighbor's house, before one of the home's residents called 911 to report an intruder, and Heimsness and another officer responded to the scene. Wray says Heimsness saw Heenan and one of the residents struggling with each other outside the home, before Heenan's confrontation with Heimsness. 


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