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Heimsness not back on patrol, won't work Baldwin St.

Published On: Jan 29 2013 10:31:24 PM CST
Officer Steven Heimsness and Paul Heenan

Officer Steven Heimsness and Paul Heenan


Madison police officer Steve Heimsness, the patrolman cleared of wrongdoing after he shot and killed a man on Madison's near east side, isn't back on the streets and won't patrol the area where the shooting happened if he does return.

At a community meeting Tuesday that drew nearly 200 people from the neighborhood and city government, Madison Police Chief Noble Wray answered numerous questions about the case.

"At this juncture, I don't see a reason for external review of this particular investigation," Wray said, although he said he'd be open to discussions about options for future cases.

Wray also said he is reviewing the department's policies on the use of force and on internal investigations, but couldn't name specifics nor a timeline on what might change, and when.

Many neighbors, family and friends of Paul Heenan, the musician who died Nov. 9 after he grappled with Heimsness, said they wanted an independent review of the police investigation.

One neighbor, who lives around the corner from where the shooting happened on South Baldwin Street, said the incident remains "an open wound" in the area.

Community members, District Attorney Ismael Ozanne and ranking Madison Police officials sat on a panel in front of a crowd at Bethany Evangelical Free Church on Tuesday.

Community members asked police whether Heimsness didn't announce himself as a police officer, why he had his gun drawn as he approached the scene, and why a neighbor's 911 call reporting a man in her home got relayed to the officer as a burglary in progress.

"When someone's going into someone's house, cop lingo is 'burglary in progress,'" said Madison Police Det. Michelle Riesterer, the lead detective on the shooting case.

Lt. Dan Olivas, part of the department's internal affairs unit, said it wasn't clear why Heenan didn't respond to repeated commands from Heimsness to get on the ground.

Heenan was struggling with neighbor Kevin O'Malley as the officer approached.

O'Malley has said he shouted "He's a neighbor" at Heimsness, but the officer didn't report hearing it.

There is no timeline for Heimsness to return to his patrol job, and he won't work South Baldwin Street if he returns, said Joel DeSpain, a police department spokesman.

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