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Autumn Steele

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The head of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council believes a recent decision by the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) could have a lasting effect on transparency across the state.

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The Iowa Public Information Board is considered the watchdog for violations of the state's sunshine laws by local governments and other public bodies. But the Iowa Office of Ombudsman announced this week that the IPIB itself is guilty of violating the Iowa Open Meetings law.

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The Burlington Police Department and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation kept confidential numerous documents related to a fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred in January 2015. An administrative law judge said that action violated Iowa's Open Records Law.

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A federal judge ordered the unsealing of documents related to the shooting death of Autumn Steele by Burlington Police Officer Jesse Hill. That is shining more light on what transpired at the scene of the shooting.

The family of Autumn Steele this week announced that it had settled a wrongful death lawsuit it filed in November 2016 against the city of Burlington and Burlington police officer Jesse Hill for $2 million. The city, in response, said it would not comment on the settlement until the court approves it.

An administrative law judge in Des Moines today heard arguments in an ongoing public records conflict pitting the Iowa Public Information Board against the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation and the Burlington Police Department.  

The Board is pursuing a contested case against the law enforcement agencies, seeking police video and other evidence in the fatal police shooting of Autumn Steele at her home in Burlington in January of 2015.    

The mother of two was shot and killed by Officer Jesse Hill who answered a domestic dispute call at the home.

Autumn Steele was shot and killed outside of her home by a Burlington police officer in Jan. 2015. Her family is now suing the city and the officer involved.

It will be up to a judge to decide whether government and law enforcement agencies in Des Moines County violated Iowa’s open records law during an investigation into the shooting death of a Burlington woman last year.

Des Moines County Attorney Faces State Hearing

Feb 24, 2016

Des Moines County Attorney Amy Beavers will soon find herself on the other side of a courtroom as the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) is investigating whether she violated the state's open records law. The claim is in connection with the investigation into the shooting death of Autumn Steele in January 2015.

Iowa Board: Pursuit of Shooting Records Can Continue

Dec 17, 2015

Few details have been released about the January 6, 2015 fatal shooting of Autumn Steele by Burlington Police Officer Jesse Hill. An effort to make more information public took a step forward Thursday as the Iowa Public Information Board (IPIB) voted against closing its investigation into the incident.

The Des Moines Register sharply criticized Burlington, Des Moines County, and the state of Iowa for concealing information about the January death of Autumn Steele.

Burlington Police to Receive Dog Training

Mar 29, 2015

There is a new requirement for Burlington police officers following a fatal officer-involved shooting in January.  Chief Doug Beaird said all officers must take a U.S. Department of Justice training course on how to react to incidents in which a vicious dog is present.

"It's an online training," said Beaird.  "It's like (60-75 minutes) of different videos.  The Department of Justice worked with the Chicago Police Department and did some violent dog encounter-type training."

Beaird said the department is also trying to set up some hands-on training for officers.

Burlington Police Release Video from Fatal Shooting

Mar 24, 2015

The Burlington Police Department has released a small piece of video from the body camera of a police officer who shot and killed a woman in January.

No Charges Against Burlington Police Officer

Feb 27, 2015

Burlington Police Officer Jesse Hill will not face criminal charges after fatally shooting a woman on Jan. 6, 2015.  Des Moines County Attorney Amy Beavers made the announcement Friday afternoon after a roughly two-week review of evidence related to the shooting.

Burlington Dog Deemed "Not Vicious"

Feb 26, 2015
www.flickr.com / Matty Ring

A dog connected to an officer-involved shooting in Burlington will be returned to its owner. This comes after the city's Animal Hearing Board voted unanimously that Sammy, a 7-year-old German Shepard/Collie mix was not vicious.

DMC Attorney to Decide on Charges in Fatal Shooting

Feb 11, 2015

Des Moines County Attorney Amy Beavers expects to decide within the next 30 days whether to file charges in connection with a fatal shooting by a Burlington police officer.