Burlington Fatal Police Shooting Probe Proceeds

Sep 17, 2015

The husband of a Burlington woman who was shot and killed by a Burlington police officer appeared before a state board today, arguing for the release of a video recording and other information in the case.  

In January, Officer Jesse Hill answered a domestic disturbance call and shot and killed 34-year old Autumn Steele after the family’s dog attacked him. 

Steele’s family and the Burlington Hawk Eye newspaper petitioned the Iowa Public Information board hoping to be able to hear 911 recordings and view body cam video.  

On a split vote, the board agreed not to dismiss the complaint, against the recommendation of the board’s executive director.

The Burlington Police Department and the Department of Criminal investigation argue the information is not subject to Iowa’s open records law. 

The victim's family members urged the board not to dismiss the complaint.

“I believe the public, myself her husband, Autumn's mother and father, we have a right to know what happened on the video,” says Gabriel Steele.

“Two hundred fifty-four days ago Officer Jesse Hill shot and killed my daughter,” says Gina Colbert.  “For 254 days we have looked for answers about what happened that morning.” 

The family objects that Officer Hill was returned to active duty.

Today’s vote means the board’s two-month investigation into the case will continue.   The board will consider whether a state law exempting police records from the open records requirement is absolute, or can be balanced by other concerns.