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Complaint alleges long list of misconduct by Heimsness

Published On: Jun 22 2013 06:26:22 PM CDT   Updated On: Jun 24 2013 09:12:08 AM CDT
Officer Steven Heimsness and Paul Heenan

Officer Steven Heimsness and Paul Heenan


A 58-page complaint by Madison police Chief Noble Wray documents a rash of alleged inappropriate behavior from an officer in the weeks prior to shooting an unarmed man.

A Madison police internal affairs investigation and a review by the Dane County District Attorney's Office cleared Officer Stephen Heimsness of wrong-doing weeks ago in a high-profile shooting.

Police and county officials said he reasonably followed department policy in the incident where Paul Heenan, 30, was shot after having accidentally entered the wrong home.

Details from a recently released document shed light on alleged bad behavior by the officer on duty in a variety of situations in the months leading up to Nov. 9, the night Heimsness was on duty when the report of a burglary at the 500 block of Baldwin Street came in and during which Heenan was killed.

A 58-page complaint that the Wisconsin State Journal reported is from Madison police Chief Noble Wray documents a rash of alleged inappropriate behavior from an officer prior to shooting Heenan, who was unarmed.

Wray filed the complaint with the Police and Fire Commission Friday and asked that Heimsness be removed from the force, according to a statement.

Heimsness is accused of a variety of inappropriate actions including misuse of department property such as an internal communications system and the mobile data computer, making racist and sexist comments, disrespecting supervisors and using offensive language.

He's also accused of firearms misconduct.

There are a total of 31 counts of using insulting, defamatory or obscene language spanning from Aug. 2, 2012 to Oct. 23, 2012.

The document also lists:

  • Two counts of harassment
  • Four counts of misuse of departmental business time
  • An incident of unsafe handling of firearms
  • Seven counts of disrespecting supervisors
  • Depriving equal protection to community members
  • Dishonesty
  • Disrespectful behavior

The Associated Press reported that Dan Frei, president of the Madison Professional Police Officers Association, said Heimsness' actions do not constitute grounds for dismissal.

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