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MPD holding news conference regarding Heimsness | News

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MPD holding news conference regarding Heimsness
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Madison Police Chief Noble Wray will hold a news conference Friday at 3 p.m. to discuss new developments regarding Officer Stephen Heimsness.

Officer Heimsness was cleared of any wrongdoing after he shot and killed Paul Heenan, who was unarmed, on Madison's near east side on Nov. 9 while responding to what he thought was a burglary in progress.

It was later determined that Heenan, who was drunk, had entered a neighbor's house by mistake, prompting a 911 call of a reported break-in.

The Dane County district attorney reviewed the case and cleared Heimsness of any criminal liability. The Madison Police Department conducted an internal investigation and concluded that Heimsness acted in compliance with department protocol.

The U.S. Department of Justice said this week it will review the shooting case to determine if Heenan's civil rights were violated by a use of unreasonable force, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil said he asked for the review after receiving up to 100 letters requesting an independent review of the Madison Police Department's internal investigation of the shooting.

The review by the Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C., will be limited to the question of whether there was a violation of federal law. Vaudreuil said the review will specifically look at whether Heenan's constitutional rights were violated by the use of unreasonable force.

Michael Bell, an advocate for the Heenan family, told WISC-TV that he spoke with Heenan's parents Thursday afternoon and they didn't know about the U.S. attorney's decision then.

"I'm quite surprised. Hopefully it's a good sign. The U.S. attorney doesn't usually step in like this," Bell said.

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