Letter To Demand An Independent Impartial Investigation Into Paul Heenan’s Death

THE LETTER:

To Whom It May Concern,

In light of the recent tragedy of Paul Heenan’s (Paulie) death at the hands of a Madison police officer, the conflicted nature of the District Attorney’s (D.A.) relationship with area Police Officers, and the damage to our community’s trust as a result of both this event and the investigatory process, I am writing to request an impartial, independent body be formed to re-investigate this case. Wisconsin statutes regarding law enforcement are 125 years old, the oldest in the Nation. They do not provide for a centralized professional review, called an External Professional Review. Currently, these statues give each community, “Home Rule”. This means that local police review themselves with bias at the department level, called an Internal Organizational Review. The local Chief then passes judgment on the performance of his organization, his own policies, and his own abilities. There are no external checks and balances to maintain objectivity in the current investigation process.

In the State of Oregon, any case involving an officer shooting is investigated by an outside agency and goes before a grand jury, for obvious reasons. (http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/chapter/132). District Attorneys constantly use police officers when presenting their trials. Police officers, as witnesses, are generally essential to D.A.s winning their cases. There is an obvious and inherent conflict of interest in allowing the D.A.’s office to investigate a police officer’s misconduct, when that police officer and his colleagues must remain “friendly” to the D.A.’s office in order for the D.A. to pursue future prosecutions.

Here are some other concerns that reveal biases:

1) The incomplete questioning of neighbors on the street where Paulie was shot would imply a lack of professionalism and/or that there are facts the detectives wish to conceal from the public.

2) Officer Heimsness’s abhorrent record of excessive use of force should have kept him from patrolling alone at bar time.

3) The damaging selective release of our neighbor’s and the second officer’s full statements as means to win public support. Is that the behavior of an impartial group?

4) No mention or response to the question about whether there was a dash board camera in Officer Heimsness’s vehicle.

5) The D.A. and Madison Police Department (MPD) applied rules to their gag order that would suggest they were trying to win a game of public relations. They were supposed to be holding an impartial investigation, so why the charade of selective transparency? They can’t be impartial and have such obvious bias.

6) The MPD’s history of being far more lenient with officers than civilians who’ve committed similar acts and, in some cases, paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars on leave while they are being investigated.

7) The damaging misinformation revealed during Chief Noble Wray’s first, premature press conference. For example:

a) Using the word “knife” instead of “pocket knife,” the former being one that could be misconstrued as a “weapon.”
b) Saying the neighbor “dropped” when the officer gave his orders to “get down”, when in fact the neighbor never did.
c) Dodging the question, “Did the neighbor say anything to Officer Heimness?,” knowing full well there was no good reason to keep this information from the public if the investigating body was impartial.
d) Never once mentioning that the officer failed to announce himself.

8) The D.A.’s strategic or ignorant statement, “This [accidently entering the wrong house while intoxicated] just doesn’t happen” when it actually does occur on occasion. Frankly, entering the wrong house is not nearly as dangerous as compared to, say, operating a vehicle or shooting a gun while intoxicated. The difference is, if the police are called, the vast majority of them don’t address the situation using lethal force first so the chances of a death are minimal.

9) The D.A.’s most recent statement that O’Malley “believed he may have made that statement” suggests that, when a civilian says something, they cannot trust it actually came out of their mouth unless an officer claims to have also heard it. The D.A. completely disregards the fact that Mrs. O’Malley was interviewed independently by investigators and also heard Mr. O’Malley’s statement, from inside the house.

A ten second Google search revealed several instances of intoxicated individuals entering the wrong house, including one example involving an MPD officer who was paid nearly $250,000 on paid leave while being investigated for kicking a person’s door down and passing out drunk in their living room.

I look forward to hearing your response including a plan for creating an independent impartial body to investigate Paul’s death in addition to changes to the 125 year old, outdated state statues for investigating our law enforcement.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

(Your name, address and # here)

Sources
https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/prefaces/toc
http://www.michaelbell.info/ChangeTheProcess.html

Officer Heimsness Record of using Deadly Force
http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=5uicxyDO0TU
:07 What witnesses saw were Heimsness giving intentional blows to the head.
:48 Civil Rights Attorney Jeff Scott Olson doubts police investigating their own officer will result in discipline.
1:01 Officer shot out tires of a car in a downtown parking ramp. Police found his claim to have been in imminent danger to be false.
1:23 Formerly suspended on 2001 for violating the deadly force policy.

Chief Noble Wray’s Press Conference:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7_OXqK5DzU
3:08, He fails to mention the neighbor shouting ‘He’s my neighbor!’.
3:14 No one’s story matches Officer Heimsness’s here. It’s unlikely that Officer Twombly could have seen this. In fact, Officer Heimsness quickly explained to Officer Twombly after the shooting that, “He went for my gun.” Why would he have to tell her that if she was there to see it?

D.A. Ozanne’s Press Release doesn’t mention the neighbor trying to save Paul or the officer not announcing himself.
http://madisonneareast.channel3000.com/news/news/78085-da-no-criminal-liability-officer-involved-shooting

D.A. Ozanne Doesn’t think People Enter Wrong Homes Drunk
http://www.channel3000.com/news/Family-of-man-shot-by-Madison-police-release-letter-to-chief-DA/-/1648/17797066/-/arjc4pz/-/index.html

Officer Grogan Kicks Door Down
http://host.madison.com/news/th-police-officer-in-months-on-paid-leave-madison-officer/article_75eb7d0f-b687-51eb-80aa-3301b94134ee.html

http://host.madison.com/news/opinion/cut-off-paychecks-of-rogue-cops-the-outrageous-case-of/article_59be02b1-f8a9-5b58-89ee-e3297497674e.html

http://www.thedailypage.com/isthmus/article.php?article=6411

http://host.madison.com/news/local/no-reinstatement-for-ex-cop-michael-grogan-had-been-convicted/article_aae40726-c326-504b-8d95-d623d0c440b3.html

D.A. Ozanne’s response to the O’Malley’s story
http://www.wkow.com/story/20513404/2013/01/06/report
:37 Ozanne’s message is, what civilians hear themselves say, even if backed up by other civilians, isn’t real unless an officer agrees.

Drunk People Entering the Homes of Others
http://www.cityofmadison.com/incidentReports/incidentDetail.cfm?id=13006

http://www.cityofmadison.com/incidentReports/incidentDetail.cfm?id=13006

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/crime_and_courts/intruder-wasn-t-burglar-but-drunken-man-who-went-in/article_32637d00-8813-11e1-ad4d-0019bb2963f4.html

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/crime_and_courts/stranger-in-house-was-talking-to-family-dog-police-say/article_4bdc44b4-25ae-11e1-a590-0019bb2963f4.html

 

 THIS letter comes from the Paul Heenan Memorial page on FaceBook.

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