Another officer involved fatal shooting

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Dangerousman
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Re: Another officer involved fatal shooting

Postby Dangerousman » Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:49 am

Amelia Royko Maurer wrote:Chief Wray was, in 3 conversations with me, unable to explain how Heimsness met the moral standard of the use of deadly force policy. At least two retired Chiefs and one retired capt. in the community question or do not believe Heimsness met the moral standard. Anonymous police officers have stated to me that they do not have confidence in Wray's choice. That, along with the statements of all witnesses and Heimsness' history of comments and has lead us to believe that perhaps it is worth MPD's time to have someone, who is objectively impartial, find out as much about Stephan Heimsness' life as they did about Paul Heenan's life.

Heimsness is a public servant sanctioned by the state to take lives of people only when they pose a deadly threat so grave, there is absolutely no other less lethal option available to stop that threat. He had options that he failed to notice for instance, another officer with a taser standing merely feet away.

Not a single Madison officer has been found in the wrong for killing a civilian in 125 years. That's impossible and if MPD says it isn't, then they should welcome an outside, impartial review of their investigation and support this Bill: http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/e ... ric-change


What exactly is the "moral standard" to which you refer? I don't think it's a fair criticism of someone to say they were in the wrong for failing to use something they didn't know to exist ("failed to notice another officer with a Taser".) It might be unfortunate, but how is it blameworthy? You do understand that this sort of thing tends to happen very rapidly without time to do a great deal of reflection, right? Sometimes the situation calls for a reactive response, not a deliberative response. Deliberation allows you the luxury of second-guessing and picking apart a reaction all you wish, but it doesn't mean that the individual should be held responsible for not having performed all of that deliberation that you have done over the course of minutes, hours or days in the fraction of a second he had available. Maybe you ought to go out to Gander Mountain and spend a little time in one of their simulation ranges and see how quickly you need to evaluate and respond to various scenarios. Then think about doing the same thing in real life when you don't have in the back of your mind "this is fake and nobody's really going to get hurt by my actions."

Think about all this "highly trained" stuff we hear about the police and the use of their guns. What does that mean? What are the implications? Does it mean they are more proficient using a gun? Hardly. I know a lot of people who can handle and shoot a gun far better than most cops can ever dream of doing because they have spent far more time developing those skills. For two equally competent shooters, the difficult part will be making the "shoot or don't shoot" decision. Police get training in that area that may or not have been gotten by non-police. What is the result of that training? I'll tell you. It drives home two points: 1. The time you have to make the decision whether to shoot is probably going to be fractions of a second long. 2. It's not always going to be an obvious choice until you're actively under attack and then it may be too late. I suppose a third point that it teaches is that it would be nice to be omniscient and have super powers of observation and super reflexes, but you don't have those things.

What is the result of having those all-too-human limitations drilled into you? It causes you to do your deliberations in advance so that when the time comes your reaction isn't purely instinctive and rash, and isn't purely deliberative and slow. It hopefully results in some sort of a balance between an instinctive and deliberative response to a threat. My guess is that this training results in more perceived threats getting shot, and fewer police getting shot. So, yes this highly touted use of force training that police receive probably is a dangerous thing in a way. It means they will fall back on how they are trained to react and deliberate less than a lesser trained person. I think the police training is portrayed as something that makes the public more safe, when in reality it probably increases the risk to the public slightly. The police would undoubtedly deny this is true and I don't believe that this result is intentional or a conscious aspect of the training necessarily, but I suspect it is the actual result. Insofar as it protects the lives of the police, it's probably hugely successful. As for protecting the public, that requires some hard thinking.

Amelia Royko Maurer
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Re: Another officer involved fatal shooting

Postby Amelia Royko Maurer » Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:37 pm

"As I think about the reactions and commentary from the community and the Police Department to the tragic death of Paulie Heenan, I see the competing underlying philosophical tensions in policing once again rearing their old and familiar heads. Are we a paramilitary profession protecting the community from bad guys? Or are we a community-oriented profession building public safety through community and problem-oriented policing strategies that build neighborhood capacity? How you answer that question will determine how you train and use your resources.

In police departments across the country, including our own in Madison, I hear a loud internal cry that it’s a different job than it was: “You don’t understand what it’s like out there. It is more dangerous now than it was before. Tactics must change to reflect that difference. Now, in order to keep officers from being hurt and killed, we have to train them always to operate from a tactical position of advantage.”

When I came on in the early ’80s, I heard the same cry: It’s a different world. Now we have gangs and crack cocaine and things that just did not exist before so we better get with it. We better get tactically and technologically prepared or we won’t be able to stay one step ahead of the bad guys. We’ll lose the “war.”

The problem is that we are not at war. We are not fighting an enemy. We are protecting and serving our neighbors and fellow citizens. And, as police departments continue to gear up to become more militarized to fight terrorism and violence, the violent crime rate in this country has actually been going down. Are there exceptions to that general rule? Yes, by the nature of statistics, there have to be.

Since 9/11, there is even more of a trend toward the militarization of our police. Most of the federal funding available reinforces the trend. We want our police departments prepared tactically and we will give you federal funding to help make sure you have the necessary equipment to fight the terrorist enemy that cannot be seen or identified. Hence, more money for more tactical gear and training to help you get better prepared. And more riot gear rotting in the trunks of squad cars.

I do know that police officers continue to die in the line of duty. I also know that police officers deal with some of the worst elements of the community that are often invisible to their fellow community members. And this fact definitely has an impact on them.

I also know that we lose more officers emotionally than physically. The number of officers who take their own lives continues to be much higher than the number of officers who die in the line of duty. In fact, in Madison, I don’t know when the last time was that an officer was killed in the line of duty. I know it has not happened in the over 35 years since I have lived here. With all of my heart, I hope and pray that trend will continue. However, I know several officers who have had a hard time surviving the emotional effects of the job. And we still don’t seem to train much for the emotional effects of the job.

What is interesting to me is that as we continue to invest in the militarization of our police departments, as we continue to invest the majority of our police training resources in this country for tactical training, the great majority of calls the police respond to are still calls that require crisis intervention skills. They are calls that require people skills, calls that require an understanding of mental illness, calls that require us to know how to defuse conflicts of different kinds, calls that require us to listen and receive another person in crisis with some kindness and compassion. Sometimes, I think the police are their own worst enemy because they don’t take credit for the majority of their work, which is in fact crisis intervention.

We want to take credit for the gutsy, sexy stuff that requires us to wear guns and be warriors. We don’t want to take credit for that pansy touchy-feely social worker crap. We don’t want you to see us as compassionate, caring people. We want you to see us the way we are portrayed on TV. We’re the omnipotent, small gang of armed good guys chasing the ever growing, ever invisible gang of bad guys. And we want you to believe we have the best technology and training at our disposal for doing so.

We want to make sure we train you to never take the chance of letting the bad guy get the drop on you. We have the responsibility to train you for the 1 percent of those times when things can go horribly wrong and your life will be on the line, for that one out of 1,000 traffic stops when somebody might produce a weapon, for that one time when somebody might get the drop on you by drawing that weapon you can’t see, the one time when your life could and will be on the line.

Should we train for that 1 percent? Absolutely. At the expense of the 99 percent of our other work? Absolutely not. While tactical training is important, it has to be balanced to reflect the reality of the police officer’s actual job. When we continually train people to expect the worst out of each other, when those are the main pathways that get cultivated and fed in training, we are bound to find ourselves in conflict with the community. We are bound to experience more police/citizen community controversies. And the current controversy involving the shooting of Paulie Heenan is no exception.

Why we want to continue to be part of promoting these false images of ourselves as a profession is beyond me. In fact, I remember a cop selling T-shirts that said on the front, “I’m part of the biggest gang in America.” On the back, it said, “The Police.” Isn’t this image that we promote exactly what gets us into trouble with the communities we need the support from to do our jobs effectively? If we train officers effectively, then we will train them to utilize a wide array of possible responses and approaches to public safety. Defensive arrest tactics, and arrest and suppress strategies, are just one of many tools that we train police officers in. Once again, it would be hard to know that from the perspective of the police officers speaking up in this contr Maples



Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/opinion/co ... z2iKOr2aVV

Amelia Royko Maurer
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Re: Another officer involved fatal shooting

Postby Amelia Royko Maurer » Thu Oct 31, 2013 8:37 am

I don't think it's a fair criticism of someone to say they were in the wrong for failing to use something they didn't know to exist ("failed to notice another officer with a Taser".)


There was no reason for Paulie to know that Heimsness was a cop and he gave him no reason to believe that. Heimsness’ back up gave Heimsness reason to believe he had back up coming up that street and Heimsness acknowledged it. What he did with that information say a lot.

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Re: Another officer involved fatal shooting

Postby Dangerousman » Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:15 pm

Amelia Royko Maurer wrote:
I don't think it's a fair criticism of someone to say they were in the wrong for failing to use something they didn't know to exist ("failed to notice another officer with a Taser".)


There was no reason for Paulie to know that Heimsness was a cop and he gave him no reason to believe that. Heimsness’ back up gave Heimsness reason to believe he had back up coming up that street and Heimsness acknowledged it. What he did with that information say a lot.


I don't know. It sounds like you're trying to have it both ways. Earlier you said Heimsness failed to notice an officer with a Taser. Yet you say he had reason to believe back-up was "coming up that street." Those are two completely different things. Let's say both statements are true. What reason would there to be to believe that the back up "coming up that street" is anywhere close enough to intervene during a struggle that might have lasted a couple of seconds or less? If you believe your life may be on the line, you probably won't be thinking "I can delay acting until help arrives" -- in 5 seconds, 10 seconds, a minute, or any unknown amount of time. That sort of hesitation may make the difference in whether you survive. That might be an unfortunate or even tragic fact, but it's a fact nonetheless.

Another thing I'm having trouble understanding is your insistence that the lighting conditions made it pretty close to impossible for Paul Heenan or Kevin O'Malley to identify Heimsness as a police officer (even more so considering O'Malley would have had good reason to believe police were on the way.) Yet under those same lighting conditions you insist that Heimsness should have been able to clearly see that Heenan was unarmed. That's not particularly plausible. In fact, unless a person is naked, it's close to impossible to verify that they're unarmed until you've frisked them regardless of lighting conditions.

I'm not disagreeing with the validity of some of your other points, but I can't help being sceptical about the issues I mentioned above. And I don't think the validity of your other points necessarily relies on you being able to maintain these less certain "facts."

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Re: Another officer involved fatal shooting

Postby Amelia Royko Maurer » Sat Nov 02, 2013 2:58 am

I'm not disagreeing with the validity of some of your other points, but I can't help being sceptical about the issues I mentioned above. And I don't think the validity of your other points necessarily relies on you being able to maintain these less certain "facts."



Why were Wray, Gaber, WPPA, MPPOA all trying to stop an impartial review if their investigation was kosher? It defies logic. Some said “it’s a waste of money”.

When was the last time the WPPA and Chief Wray and Gaber were out to save the city and the state money? Not now. Not ever.

The truth is, no one wants their cop to be the first bad stat in 125 perfect years of 100% justified police-caused deaths. Wisconsin has 125 years of perfect stats that no one can trust and that is one big piece of what makes an officer’s life hell after they kill someone. We all deserve to see a record that represents the truth. Since 1890, no one can say what’s real and what isn’t.

I’m no longer pushing common sense. The details that matter raised the eyebrows of former and current law enforcement workers across the state. It makes no difference if we agree on the details of that night. I know who you are and you are not a decider in anything involving Paulie’s death nor are you a police detective in fact, I’m fairly certain my father trained with your organization. If you’d like answers to your questions, I could provide them in person.

This is my last post. The bill below is aligned with your current life’s work. It protects your freedoms. It protects us all. Please sign. http://www.change.org/en-CA/petitions/d ... ved-deaths

Dangerousman
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Re: Another officer involved fatal shooting

Postby Dangerousman » Mon Nov 04, 2013 3:13 pm

Despite the erroneous opinions some have expressed here, I do not support or condone every use of a gun. Use of a gun, like any threat of violence or employment of violence, can be either fair or foul. I certainly do not subscribe to the idea that there is never, or nearly never, a justifiable use of a gun: an opinion that some people seem to be inclined to believe. I dislike bad uses of guns as much as anyone, because some people like to infer that all gun owners/users are bad because of the actions of others.

I've tried to look at the information that's public regarding the Heimsness/Heenan shooting with an open mind and I've decided that there isn't really enough solid information for me to form an opinion about whether the shooting was justifiable. I wasn't there to witness the conditions or to see how things truly unfolded. So unless some new informations comes to light I'll forever suspend final judgment on this one. I know my opinion about it isn't important to anyone other than myself, but it is important to me for a number of reasons.

I do support the concept of having a more independent review of police-involved shootings, perhaps even more independent than what's described in your petition. But I also think that is only a part of what is needed. What also is needed is the ability to sway the District Attorneys around the state to be more independent and neutral in their role in this sort of matter. If you disagree with their conclusions, then you should direct a good portion of your disagreement toward them. They are elected officials and subject to the same pressures of public opinion and the ballot box as any elected official.

Letting the DA know that you expect them to investigate and rule on police-involved shootings in an impartial manner may help to address yet another part of the issue, i.e., the development of a police mind-set that they darn near get a free pass in their use of threats of force and use of force. Technically and strictly-speaking, at least in this state, their use of force or threat of force for the majority of situations is subject to the same legal standards to which the rest of us are subject. But there is no question that police get away with doing a whole lot of things that would land everyone else behind bars. For example, the courts have ruled that police have no "right to point a gun at another person." But the DA's don't care, and one prominent national gun-rights lawyer told me that he never finds judges who cares about police pointing their guns at people under circumstances that don't meet the strict legal justifications for doing so. There is certainly a double-standard at work here that needs to get cut down a bit. Hardly a week or two passes by when I don't hear of a case from somewhere around the state of a legal gun carrier behing held at gun point while committing no crime nor doing anything remotely suspicious of criminal activity. For example, last week the UW police pointed a gun at a man who they stopped for a stoplight violation because they spotted an empty holster on his car seat. And just this weekend a man in Neenah who was simply lawfully open carrying firearms while walking down the sidewalk was stopped by five police and told he would be "shot in the head" if he moved. If you or I acted like the threshold to threaten deadly violence against another person was as low as the police believe it to be, we would certainly quickly find ourselves up on charges. So I believe this cavalier attitude about threatening deadly force needs to be substantially reined in. As long as they continue to get away with it, it won't be. This has to be done by proper training, and reinforced by a department's chief and command staff, and by prosecutors and courts.

So from my perspective, independent review of police-involved deaths is just a fraction of what is needed. By itself, it won't greatly improve things. We can't just concern ourselves with what happens AFTER someone has been killed.


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