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Group delivers 100,000 signatures for officer's dismissal

Published On: May 03 2013 10:35:11 PM CDT   Updated On: May 04 2013 11:18:39 AM CDT

Nate Royko-Maurer dropped off a petition containing the signatures of 100,000 people Friday.


Nate Royko-Maurer walked into the Madison Police Department’s executive office Friday afternoon after weeks of waiting. 

“I feel like we're showing good faith in our attempts to communicate, and we're getting kind of pushed off,” Royko-Maurer said.

According to Royko-Maurer, he and his wife, Amelia, have been rescheduling multiple meetings with Madison Police Chief Noble Wray for about three weeks. This time, he had to leave the flash drive with a secretary.

Royko-Maurer loaded an online petition onto that flash drive, one that includes more than 100,000 signatures calling for Officer Stephen Heimsness to be taken off patrol duty.

“We made a commitment to the signers that this would make it to someone who had the power, to actually make the change that the petition was asking for,” Royko-Maurer said.  “Chief Wray is the only one who can do that directly.”

The group also dropped boxes off at the department, a physical reminder of the online petition.

Heimsness shot and killed Paul Heenan on Madison’s east side back in November.  Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said the 15-year veteran of the force is still on paid administrative leave. DeSpain added Wray takes everyone’s point of view seriously when it comes to the investigations involved in the shooting.

“He has met in the past with those pushing the petition drive, and is willing to meet with them again after he reviews the petitions,” DeSpain said.

Heenan’s friends and supporters said they’re determined to keep the issue alive, pushing for an external investigation of the deadly situation and changes within police policy.

“When you have a police chief and a mayor who have agreed that changes must be made in the future with regard to how investigations are handled and changes must be looked into, with regards to policy failures and training failures, then what they're telling you is they saw a problem here with this current case,” Amelia Royko-Maurer said.

The Royko-Maurers' just started another petition, which will eventually go to the district attorney, requesting an inquest of Heenan’s death.

  • PHOTOS: Madison store helps collect hundreds of Teddy bears for police

    MADISON, Wis.--A west Madison store is part of an effort to collect hundreds of stuffed animals to donate to six police departments in Southern Wisconsin.

    Todd Merryfield, owner of The Learning Shop at 714 S. Gammon Road, said the store is collecting the bears for officers who use them to help comfort children with whom police come in contact.

    "This is a great way to support what (police) do," Merryfield said. "Those are the kids that need something like this to reassure them, calm them down, and let them know that things are all right."

    Nearly 500 plush animals were donated Tuesday, a Learning Shop spokeswoman said. The Madison store's effort is part of a larger initiative through the Bears for Humanity organization. 

    Photos by Doug Wahl

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