Madison
15° F
Light Snow
Light Snow
Advertisement

Lawmaker wants mandate for officer-involved shooting investigations

Published On: Feb 19 2013 03:18:09 PM CST   Updated On: Feb 20 2013 08:12:58 AM CST

MADISON, Wis. -

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin says he's open to considering a new procedure for investigating officer-involved shootings.

Soglin answered questions from WISC-TV for the first time Tuesday about the investigation into a November shooting death at the hands of a Madison police officer.

His comments came as a Republican state lawmaker starts a legislative effort to take investigative power away from an involved officer's department after a shooting.

Soglin called a news conference to "correct misconceptions perpetuated in a recent news report," according to a release from the mayor’s office.

WISC-TV aired a story Monday about procedures used in Knoxville, Tenn. to review police shootings. Soglin declined comment in the story in an on-camera interview Monday.

In a phone call with WISC-TV later, he reiterated an earlier press release saying he was "receptive" to independent reviews when it came to other law enforcement agencies conducting investigations.

Soglin said Tuesday he was open to changes to the procedures for reviewing police shootings as long as they were allowed under state statutes.

"I said that I would comment when the three pending investigations are completed. That was not accurately portrayed in the newscast," Soglin said.

Officer Stephen Heimsness is the subject of three internal investigations of conduct that occurred before his involvement in the Nov. 9 shooting of Paul Heenan, according to the police department.

Heimsness was cleared of wrongdoing in the fatal shooting, and Chief Noble Wray has said the additional probes are not related to the shooting.

Soglin declined to reveal why the three pending investigations are keeping him from commenting.

He would not say whether he supported a review panel such as the one Knoxville uses, and said he didn't know enough to comment about the legislative efforts of Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay.

Bies said he is working on a bill to be introduced this fall that would create a statewide mandate for how officer-involved shootings are investigated.

"I think the perception thing comes in, especially when you have one agency investigating themselves," said Bies, a 30-year veteran of the Door County Sheriff's Department. "You've got to have some independence."

Amelia and Nathan Royko Maurer, Paul Heenan's former roommates, said they will continue to fight to have police reopen their friend's case.

They said the Heenan case and all other police shootings should get independent review, even if it takes an effort at the Capitol to make it happen.

"If there wasn't a problem, there'd be no reason to change the state statutes," Amelia Royko Maurer said. "(Police) know that, the mayor knows that, we know that, so we're not going to stop."

Wray has repeatedly said he's open to options on how to handle investigations in the future, although he's said the Heenan case doesn't need further review.

Advertisement
  • Mil debate media gallery main

    Win McNamee/Getty Images

    Clinton, Sanders face off in Milwaukee debate

    Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton participate in the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential candidate debate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Milwaukee. The debate is the final debate before the Nevada caucuses scheduled for Feb. 20.

  • Wildlife refuge

    CNN

    Oregon armed protesters: What to know

    A 41-day occupation at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon ended Thursday when the four remaining protesters surrendered to authorities. Here is what to you need to know about the group.

  • Titanic II

    Blue Star Line

    Titanic II: A look inside

    The new Titanic II will be practically identical to the original luxury liner, which famously sank in April 1912 after striking an iceberg on its maiden voyage. Here's a look inside the ocean liner, which is slated to sail in 2018.

Advertisement