Let’s say my friend is being tried for homicide and I’m on the jury. No, wait -- that would never happen. Most would agree that such a conflict of interest is dangerous.

Madison Ald. Paul Skidmore, 9th District, disagreed in his recent letter urging Madison to accept that when police kill civilians, they should be investigated and judged by their friends and colleagues.

He argues that our plea for an objectively impartial investigation into the police shooting death of unarmed Paul Heenan is causing divisiveness and stalling “the healing process.” He claims the Heenan case has been investigated by three “separate” law enforcement agencies, as if “separate” means “impartial.”

But Madison Police Chief Noble Wray knows that Assistant Chief John Davenport is married to a former Dane County assistant district attorney, now an assistant attorney general for the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

When these intermarried departments investigate each other, it’s a conflict of interest. Skidmore’s knowledge on this issue is to healing as separate is to impartial. He’s only taken the first step and has a long way to go.

-- Amelia Royko Maurer and Nathan Royko Maurer, Madison

Letters editor for Wisconsin State Journal

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That isn't what we wrote. Thank you for publishing the letter WJS. It was changed for some reason. Here is the original:

Separate is Not Equal to Impartial

Let’s say my friend is being tried for homicide and I'm serving on the jury. No. No wait, that would never happen. Most would agree that such a conflict of interest would be dangerous. Alder Paul Skidmore disagrees in his recent letter to the Wisconsin State Journal where he urges Madison to just except the fact that when our police kill civilians they should be investigated and judged by their friends and colleagues. He argues that our plea for an objectively impartial investigation into the police shooting death of unarmed Paulie Heenan is causing divisiveness and stalling “the healing process”. He supports this argument with an already disproven claim that the Heenan case has been investigated by three “separate” law enforcement agencies, as if “separate” means “impartial”.

Not even MPD Chief Noble Wray would agree with that statement. He knows, for instance, that his Assistant Chief John Davenport is married to the former Dane County Assistant District Attorney who is now the Deputy Attorney General for the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

When these intermarried departments investigate one another for homicide, it’s a textbook conflict of interest.

Skidmore’s relevant knowledge on this issue is to healing as separate is to impartial. He's only taken the first step and has a long ways to go.

Amelia Royko Maurer
Nathan Royko Maurer

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