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Officer won't face criminal liability in shooting death

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Re: Officer won't face criminal liability in shooting death

Postby david cohen » Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:42 pm

Unfortunately, this type of thing doesn't happen in slow motion. So while we, as armchair quarterbacks, have the luxury of dissecting every nuance, neither the cop nor the perpetrator has such luxury.
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Re: Officer won't face criminal liability in shooting death

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:51 pm

jonnygothispen wrote:Mr. Heenan hadn't pulled out any weapons, and it's unlikely he was "reaching" for one since he didn't have any.


He had reached for one, it just happened to be in officer Heimness's hands at the time.

jonnygothispen wrote:But in ALL fairness, Mr. Heimness had other options.

Pure conjecture on your part with no basis any similar experience.

jonnygothispen wrote:Mr. Heimness could have: remained disengaged until he had help in wrestling Paulie down, or stepped back, and whipped out the pepper spray, or shot him in non fatal areas


Disengaging takes two people, if Mr. Heenan continues to advance on Officer Heimness it's tough to disengage. 5 feet is not nearly enough space to safely secure a firearm (especially when someone is trying to take it away), and pull out pepper spray. Pepper spray can also easily end up effecting the wielder as well at close ranges. Furthermore aiming at and hitting a "non-lethal" location of the leg when the target leg is moving is not quite as simple as taking
jonnygothispen wrote:pot shots at a beat up Yugo 25 years ago.


One of the important theories of use of a firearm is knowing what is behind your target and not causing rounds to go ricocheting off in unknown directions. Your are far more likely to hit when you aim for the center of mass and far less likely to have rounds go somewhere unintended. It's horrible that Mr. Heenan is dead, but it would be far more horrible if his behavior had lead to anyone else dying (including Officer Heimness).

jonnygothispen wrote:He can also say whatever he wants about it. No one but him knows how accurate that really is either.


You keep making this claim, seeming to forget that there was a witness there who also gave a statement.

jonnygothispen wrote:any time something like this happens it should be closely scrutinized


And it always is. After which armchair cops always come out and say why the cop was wrong and how they would have handled a situation they have no experience or training in so much better.
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Re: Officer won't face criminal liability in shooting death

Postby fisticuffs » Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:58 pm

Furthermore aiming at and hitting a "non-lethal" location of the leg when the target leg is moving is not quite as simple as taking


And it's not what he, and other police are trained to do. They do not shoot to wound. Ever. They pull out the gun it's to kill. They only shoot to wound in bad cop buddy movies.
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Re: Officer won't face criminal liability in shooting death

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:20 pm

fisticuffs wrote:
Furthermore aiming at and hitting a "non-lethal" location of the leg when the target leg is moving is not quite as simple as taking


And it's not what he, and other police are trained to do. They do not shoot to wound. Ever. They pull out the gun it's to kill. They only shoot to wound in bad cop buddy movies.


I guarantee any officer asked under oath would say they were trained to "shoot to stop the threat" (that phrase is or was part of the training), but you are correct.

That said there are all kinds of reasons to aim for center of mass, beyond the fact that outside of a head shot (also not an easy shot to make) it's the most likely to stop your target. As I already pointed out, you are far more likely to hit your target. If the target is moving it's the area that is moving the least. Let's face it, your average cop isn't a professional trick shooter able to make the shots you see in movies and on TV.

Sadly another reason to shoot to "stop the threat" probably has more to do with the cost and likelihood of winning a wrongful death suit versus a disability/pain and suffering suit. Dead people aren't suing anyone, and their families don't win very often when they do.
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Re: Officer won't face criminal liability in shooting death

Postby Meade » Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:27 pm

jonnygothispen wrote:It's also true that an officer with another mindset would react a different way as evidenced in other cases.

Like in Britain, jonny? Would you prefer we follow the British model?
http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/201 ... -be-armed/
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Re: Officer won't face criminal liability in shooting death

Postby jjoyce » Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:08 pm

I won't pretend to speak for jonnygoat, but I would prefer that we would solve the problem of police officers shooting unarmed people. If that means borrowing something from the British, the French, the Turks and the Swedes, then great. If we have to admit that our approach to policing needs to be constantly questioned, evaluated and transparent, let's do that.

Let's drink less, most definitely. Let's be smarter about our surroundings and look out more for our neighbors. Let's not be so quick to cast blame and work toward solutions instead of ridicule for a change. I'm sure there's not a single person involved in this incident who isn't in a ton of pain and searching for things they could have done differently. What's the point of being callously ignorant of that fact?

Let's also shoot less. Why is that suggestion so pie-in-the-sky and deserving of scoffing? Should we pay for armed cops in the schools? Why not pay for more counselors and social workers in the schools? Should we allow less inhibited access to guns and pass laws that excuse those who shoot people with their guns if they feel threatened themselves? Why not offer more access to mental health care and evolve as a society to the point where people seeking help for mental health issues aren't stigmatized?
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Re: Officer won't face criminal liability in shooting death

Postby doppel » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:18 pm

Channeling Neil Fucking Heinen

jjoyce wrote: I would prefer that we would solve the problem of police officers shooting unarmed people.

If that means borrowing something from the British, the French, the Turks and the Swedes, then great.

our approach to policing needs to be constantly questioned, evaluated and transparent

Let's drink less, most definitely.

Let's be smarter about our surroundings and look out more for our neighbors.

Let's also shoot less.

Why not pay for more counselors and social workers in the schools?

Should we... pass laws that excuse those who shoot people with their guns if they feel threatened themselves?

Why not offer more access to mental health care... where people seeking help for mental health issues aren't stigmatized?
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Re: Officer won't face criminal liability in shooting death

Postby fennel » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:29 pm

doppel wrote:Channeling Neil Fucking Heinen
Your brevity has neither heart nor wit. WTF are you cheeping about?
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Re: Officer won't face criminal liability in shooting death

Postby lucypevensie » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:09 pm

jonnygothispen wrote:I know pistols aren't very accurate, and it was a volatile situation (that did not require the officer to blow him away). But again, why resort to using that right away when the guy is unarmed? I agree, how do you react or aim when there's not much time, but you can try, and he did shoot an unarmed guy 3 times literally blowing him away. I also want to note again that he changed his story from "grabbed for my gun" to "grabbed my arm."


I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that the story has changed. This is one of the earliest--if not the earliest--versions of the cop's story that came out:
http://downtownmadison.channel3000.com/ ... as-unarmed

"Wray said Heenan advanced toward the officer, grabbed his hand with one and reached toward the officer's gun with the other."

The rest of your posts show your unfamiliarity with basic police procedure, and many of the points you've raised have already been covered by many other posters and articles on the shooting. Police are trained to respond to burglaries with their firearm out, because in most cases someone who's robbing a house will also be armed. They aren't trained to respond with pepper spray or tasers--in fact, the MPD has made it clear that using a taser in this situation would have been a violation of department policy--and they certainly aren't trained to switch from a gun to pepper spray or a taser when the suspect is at close range and it's still unknown whether or not he's armed. When a suspect approaches an officer's gun, officers are trained to do whatever it takes to "eliminate the threat"--as others have pointed out, in most cases this means shooting to kill, and in all cases it means multiple shots directed at the center of mass. Especially when suspects are under the influence--which Heimsness had every right to believe Heenan was--one shot isn't always enough to slow their approach. To injure someone isn't enough, because an injured person can still take your gun away and kill someone else. You need to be able to, at the very least, injure him badly enough to immediately immobilize him. There's no magical formula for how many bullets are needed to do that, so police are trained to eliminate the guesswork and shoot multiple times (in most cases, three, exactly as in this incident) in order to prevent the suspect from getting their hands on the gun.

This is a deeply disturbing incident and I don't question why people are unnerved or upset about it. But if you're at all familiar with police policy in these situations, there's also very little doubt that Heimsness responded exactly as he was trained to do. If you have issues with what happened in this case (you're not the only one; I'm not entirely comfortable with it either), they're issues with MPD policy or police policy in general, not with Officer Heimsness's conduct.
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Re: Officer won't face criminal liability in shooting death

Postby Igor » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:44 pm

jjoyce wrote:I won't pretend to speak for jonnygoat, but I would prefer that we would solve the problem of police officers shooting unarmed people. If that means borrowing something from the British, the French, the Turks and the Swedes, then great. If we have to admit that our approach to policing needs to be constantly questioned, evaluated and transparent, let's do that.


Ironically, the article posted earlier in the thread indicated that the British police are unarmed because of fears that they would be used as a "coercive arm of the state". Sounds kind of NRAish.

My issue with this concept is - criminals in the US clearly have all the guns they can use. They also can get access to anything that is banned, probably from the same people that used to push drugs, once we legalize those. Are those of you who want less guns willing to give the police increased search and seizure rights to get the guns away from criminals too? Or are we just going to take the guns from people that voluntarily turn them in, and then just ignore the ones the criminals have?
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Re: Officer won't face criminal liability in shooting death

Postby eriedasch » Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:39 pm

jjoyce wrote:I would prefer that we would solve the problem of police officers shooting unarmed people.

I second this, but the issue is not everyone believes this is a problem. If a majority of people wanted police to stop shooting unarmed people, we as a society would demand that punishments be applied to those officers who do shoot unarmed people.

As proven by this case, most people will defend the officer shooting an unarmed person if shown the officer had reason to believe he was threatened.

Convince enough people to change police policy or procedure and officers will think about the consequences before shooting first and asking questions later. And good luck with that. Here in WI we cannot even convince enough lawmakers to stop throwing people in prison for small amounts of pot.
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Re: Officer won't face criminal liability in shooting death

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:21 pm

eriedasch wrote:
jjoyce wrote:I would prefer that we would solve the problem of police officers shooting unarmed people.

I second this, but the issue is not everyone believes this is a problem. If a majority of people wanted police to stop shooting unarmed people, we as a society would demand that punishments be applied to those officers who do shoot unarmed people.

I agree with this as well, but the case in question is a poor one to hoist up as evidence of a problem. There are plenty of examples of police shooting at someone acting in a marginally threatening way. This isn't one of them.

eriedasch wrote:As proven by this case, most people will defend the officer shooting an unarmed person if shown the officer had reason to believe he was threatened.

That's because there is no requirement that a police officer needlessly put his own life at risk when facing a behavior that a reasonable person would perceive as a threat. If Heenan had simply refused to get down on the ground, or tied to walk away there is no reason to believe he would have been shot. However rather than passively resist the officer's order, he charged said officer and attempted to grab the arm or hand of the officer that was holding a firearm. Not a whole lot of room for interpretation there especially when you consider that Heimness had every reason to believe he was a burglar, and had just witnessed him assaulting another individual.

eriedasch wrote:Convince enough people to change police policy or procedure and officers will think about the consequences before shooting first and asking questions later.


Certain procedures exist to protect lives of officers and the public. I can't think of a single way that Heenan being dead is worse that Heimness being dead and a drunk man running around with his gun.
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Re: Officer won't face criminal liability in shooting death

Postby KidCapitol » Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:59 pm

This is good news!
One less stupid drunk in the world and the hero that killed him doesn't face any charges!
Hooray!

Stupid drunk got what he deserved.

If you wanna get drunk but don't wanna get shot by a cop then just stay at home and do it which is what that idiot should have done.
If booze impairs your judgement (I've always had, thankfully, enough common sense when over drinking my limits) then don't get drunk outside your home.
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Re: Officer won't face criminal liability in shooting death

Postby gargantua » Thu Jan 03, 2013 10:47 pm

KidCapitol wrote:Stupid drunk got what he deserved.


I'd like to nominate this for the most insensitive comment of 2013 so far....
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Re: Officer won't face criminal liability in shooting death

Postby kurt_w » Fri Jan 04, 2013 7:27 am

KC is a troll. He/she logs on at random intervals to post something inflammatory about drunks or black people or veterans or women or politicians or hunters or carbon monoxide or the dairy industry or whatever.
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