Medical Examiner Tranchida : Order an Inquest into the Death of Paul Heenan
  • Petitioned Dr. Vincent Tranchida

This petition was delivered to:

Dane County Medical Examiner
Dr. Vincent Tranchida
Dane County District Attorney
Ismael Ozanne
Dane County Executive of Wisconsin
Joe Parisi
Mayor of the City of Madison
Paul Soglin

Medical Examiner Tranchida : Order an Inquest into the Death of Paul Heenan

    1. Amelia Royko Maurer
    2. Petition by

      Amelia Royko Maurer

      Madison, United States

Our dear friend and roommate Paulie Heenan, was shot and killed by Madison Police Officer Steven Heimsness in front of our home. Two hours before shooting our friend, Officer Heimsness told another cop "I'm the right cop for the wrong job." "No witnesses, no problem."

Officer Heimsness is being fired for making violent and bigoted comments and his inability to be trusted before and after he killed our unarmed friend but Madison Police Chief Noble Wray and District Attorney Ismeal Ozanne claim they believe he was honest in the moments when he decided to kill our unarmed, helpless friend. 

After a first night back in town, out scouting bands for his new job at a local recording studio, a friend dropped Paulie off near our home. But it was dark, Paulie had been drinking, and he was new to the neighborhood -- so he didn't realize that he'd mistakenly entered our neighbor's nearly identical, unlocked home. The homeowner, Kevin O’Malley, recognized Paulie and started to help him get his bearings. Not knowing what was happening or who was downstairs with her husband, his wife Megan chose to call the police as a precaution while Kevin guided Paulie home.  Neither Kevin nor Paulie knew the police were on their way. 

When the police arrived, Kevin's attempt to deescalate a crisis turned into a tragic escalation and killing by a police officer.

The first officer to respond was Stephen Heimsness who has a record of 15 excessive force accusations against him resulting in 8 investigations, one sustained, and tens of thousands in city payout.  Contrary to what one might expect an officer to be wearing, Heimsness arrived sporting long hair, a beard and mustache, was dressed in dark blue military shirt and pants, drove up with his police lights off, crept up on the men from half a block away, didn’t verbally identify himself as a police officer, drew his gun and began walking at the men unannounced. 

The thing is, Paulie may not have known that Heimsness was an officer.  When Officer Heimsness arrived on the scene, he saw man pushing another man down the sidewalk.  There was no fighting, yelling or screaming for help.  There were no weapons visible in either Kevin or Paulie's hands.  Kevin O'Malley looked over his shoulder in the direction he was being pushed and he says he just saw a human form walking towards him.  He said he thought it was another neighbor coming to assist, or possibly someone out walking their dog, before he heard the figure shout, “Get Down!”  and noticed the gun pointed in his direction.  At this point he let go of Paulie’s jacket, got himself out of the way of the gun and could finally see that he was looking at a police officer.

Paulie walked quickly towards officer Heimsness, who, according Kevin O’Malley’s statement, was not easily identifiable from Paulie’s point of view.  Paulie was heavily intoxicated and in need of help.  Paulie approached the officer, perhaps thinking it was a random man with a gun.  He and Heimsness scuffled for a moment before Paulie stepped back and according to Kevin O’Malley, he looked over his shoulder in the direction of the the 2nd Officer Troumbly who was 3 feet away, with a taser.  Paulie then brought his hands to his chest and began to lower himself.  At this time, Heimsness squared up and shot Paulie three times in the chest, the first round going through his hand, to his chest.  Kevin states he repeatedly yelled at Heimsness, "He's a neighbor!" trying to stop Officer Heimsness prior to the shots fired.  Officer Heimsness knew he had backup approaching but he didn't wait.  He didn't see a weapon but he kept his gun out. 

He, with 15 years of experience and a arsenal on his belt and extensive training in hand to hand combat, chose to use the last resort first and shoot an unarmed man three times, a unarmed man who's hands were going up.

In the first of many statements explaining why he chose to kill Paulie, officer Heimsness never once mentioned fearing for his life.  He said he was "pissed" at Paulie for making him kill him.  He said he had to protect his gun to keep it active.  After some apparent coaching by a detective, officer Heimsness eventually claimed that he feared for his life and it was because of that statement that he was cleared of any wrongdoing.  

 Too many important questions remain unanswered about Officer Heimsness' whereabouts 48 hours prior to his shift, his mental fitness, potential drug use, attitude when undermined, whether he truly feared for his life, when he decided to kill and why he would shoot an unarmed man three times who had begun to obey his orders.

An inquest into Paulie Heenan's death would represent the first opportunity for the case to be reviewed and perhaps investigated by a group of people who have nothing to lose or gain from the outcome (e.g. a special prosecutor and a jury).  Critical questions remain unanswered about the events surrounding Paulie Heenan's death that appear to have been conveniently avoided by Madison police detectives and Dane County District Attorney Ozanne.  

So far this case has been investigated by detectives who’ve stated that they care deeply about Stephen Heimsness, detectives that work on the same police force as Stephen Heimsness and whose reputations are affected by a negative outcome. The separate departments that have reviewed the case are rife with conflicts of interest including marriages and life-long friendships.  District Attorney Ozanne must pass his authority to charge Officer Heimsness to a jury and his power to prosecute to an objectively impartial special prosecutor since he willingly admitted he has many good friends on the police force leaving great potential for bias in his own decision making process. 

Just as a brother wouldn't sit on the jury of his own sister's trial, our criminal justice system must also operate without the appearance and great potential for bias.  Currently, they do not and both Madison's Chief of Police Noble Wray and Madison's Mayor, Paul Soglin agree.  We demand Madison take the life saving steps towards better training, screening and unbiased investigations starting with an objectively impartial inquest into the events of Paulie Heenan's death.


Officer Heimsness is being fired on 118 counts of policy violations that took place from August 2012 until November 2012 that include harassment, violent threats, disrespect and dishonesty.  Chief Wray is firing him on the premise that his judgment and ability to serve honestly can't be trusted.  The 2nd to last policy violation took place 2 hours before Officer Heimsness killed Paulie Heenan when he wrote this comment: "I'm the right cop for the wrong job.  No witnesses, no problem".  This comment along with several other previous comments in which Heimsness lied, harassed, impulsively ranted and threatened co-workers with violence would suggest that his intentions that night with Paul Heenan deserve a deeper look.

Please join us in calling on District Attorney Ismael Ozanne and Medical Examiner, Dr. Vincent Tranchida to order an objectively impartial inquest into the actions of Officer Heimsness that led to the death of Paulie Heenan.

Recent signatures


    1. Another Extremely Important Petition. Please Sign and Share!

      Amelia Royko Maurer
      Petition Organizer

      For an investigation to result in truth and justice it must be carried out by people who have nothing to gain or lose by the outcome. That makes sense. And so does this bill. Please sign this petition, leave a message, share and let's get this bill passed! Thank you!

      Support the "Citizens and Law Enforcement Safety Act." Public Confidence Requires Trusted Oversight!

      WHEN LIVES ARE LOST DUE TO POLICE ACTION, SHOULD POLICE JUDGE THEMSELVES? Please support Wisconsin Representatives Garey Bies (R) and Chris Taylor (D) in their efforts to protect civilians and law officers from unfair investigations. Their co-sponsored legislation is titled the "Citizens and Law Enforcement Safety Act." LRB #2678.


      Amelia Royko Maurer
      Petition Organizer

      We met with D.A. Ozanne yesterday, for 4 hours. He said he doesn't know that an inquest would compelling information about Officer Heimsness. We tried every metaphor possible to convey that it's more important to be sure than it is to guess because an unarmed, helpless man was killed by a cop, who lied during 2 investigations of his own behavior, who violated policy to teach another officer a lesson, who, when frustrated, doesn't acknowledge boundaries.

      If Heimsness was a civilian, he'd be charged.

      Chief Wray and D.A. Ozanne hold all of the power. Currently, without giving us a concrete reason why, neither will give up power to minimize the potential for bias and to maximize the amount of information on the Officer. Officer Heimsness was cleared by Wray and Ozanne under the premise that he was trustworthy and he's being fired under the premise that he cannot be trusted. PLEASE, ASK THEM WHY.

    3. Petition To Be Turned in to D.A. Ozanne Tomorrow 6/24/13 at 3pm

      Amelia Royko Maurer
      Petition Organizer

      We have 12 more hours to sign and share this petition! The petition will be handed to D.A. Ozanne tomorrow at 3pm. Thank you to all who have cared enough to sign and share!

    4. We Won the Facebook Campaign Competition

      Amelia Royko Maurer
      Petition Organizer

      Please sign and share! Let's reach our ultimate signature goal of 150,000!

    5. Reached 1,000 signatures

      Amelia Royko Maurer
      Petition Organizer


    7. 90 More! We can do this!! Thank you so much!!

      Amelia Royko Maurer
      Petition Organizer

      93 more! We can do this!! Love for Paulie! Love for blind justice and for the police who stand up for it! Love for Wisconsin and all of our neighbors!!

    8. We're at 800! Thank you! We need 200 More to Deliver! Please share!

      Amelia Royko Maurer
      Petition Organizer

      800 for fair investigations and blind justice! Thank you! We need 200 more to deliver. Please help us reach 1000 - we're almost there!

      Thanks again,

      Amelia and Nate

    9. Reached 750 signatures
    10. Reached 500 signatures
    11. Reached 250 signatures
    12. Paulie Heenan Vigil and Video Projection at City Hall

      Amelia Royko Maurer
      Petition Organizer
      Demonstrators send message to officials: Heenan case not over

      MADISON (WKOW) -- On Friday night, friends held a candlelight vigil for Paul Heenan, who was shot and killed by Madison police officer Stephen Heimsness on November 9. For weeks the group has been gathering names for a petition to permanently keep Heimsness off patrol. Organizers of the vigil say their message is simple.


    Reasons for signing

    • Timothy Tucker COTTAGE GROVE, WI
      • 8 months ago

      Excessive police force is intolerable.

    • karl tollefson MADISON, WI
      • 8 months ago

      to keep the police agency seperate from investigating itself with bias,and because Paulie Heenan was murdered by a madison police officer,i live here and it matters

    • Alvina O'Malley MADISON, WI
      • 8 months ago

      So justice is served!

    • Arthur kinney ROCKFORD, IL
      • about 1 year ago

      Police kill not because they have to but because they can

    • James Jackson WASHINGTON, DC
      • about 1 year ago

      Tired of young people being killed...smh


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