Heimsness investigated for excessive force several times - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Heimsness investigated for excessive force several times

Newly released picture of Officer Heimsness Newly released picture of Officer Heimsness

MADISON (WKOW) -- Records released Friday in connection with a fatal, officer-involved shooting last November show Officer Stephen Heimsness has been investigated on complaints of using excessive force more than a half dozen times in his police career.

Madison Police Chief Noble Wray ruled Heimsness' shooting of unarmed suspect Paul Heenan Nov. 9 on Baldwin Street was justified.

Records show on seven occasions between 1999 and 2009, Heimsness was investigated on complaints of using excessive force, but none of those complaints were sustained. The records do not include information on the complaints, other than dates.

Heimsness was suspended for fifteen days for his use of excessive force in 2001, when he shot at the tires of a fleeing suspect's car in a city parking garage.

The portions of Heimsness' personnel file released Friday show more than a dozen performance recognition recommendations.

Records also show an attorney for an eyewitness to the November shooting, wrote a thank you note to Heimsness in 2004, when Heimsness apparently chose to forgo issuing a speeding ticket, to allow the man to make a scheduled flight.

In a just-released videotape of a police interview with the eyewitness, Kevin O'Malley, O'Malley describes Heenan drunkenly entering O'Malley's home mistakenly; Heenan later grappling with a concerned O'Malley in the street; and Heenan ignoring an arriving Heimsness' commands to get on the ground.

O'Malley says Heenan flailed and grappled with Heimsness. O'Malley says he shouted "he's our neighbor," several times, but authorities have said Heimsness did not hear him.

In the videotaped interview, O'Malley says both men released from their struggle, stood more upright, and backed up, with Heimsness firing shots. O'Malley described Heenan in an apparent "defensive mode."

Heimsness remains on leave, and is under current, internal investigation for three, separate, suspected violations of police rules. Wray has characterized the unspecified, suspected conduct as "troubling."



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