The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Cop Mistakenly Shoots a Mother Dead Instead of Her Attacking Dog The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Cop Mistakenly Shoots a Mother Dead Instead of Her Attacking Dog

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cop Mistakenly Shoots a Mother Dead Instead of Her Attacking Dog


(WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO)

Iowa regulators plan to sue the police department that has long refused to release video showing a cop mistakenly shoot a mother dead instead of her attacking dog — a horrific saga that played out in front of her 3-year-old son.

The Iowa Public Information Board voted Thursday to launch legal action against the Burlington Police Department and other agencies, pushing for the release of records from the January day Officer Jesse Hill shot and killed 34-year-old Autumn Steele.

Hill was responding to a disturbance on Jan. 6 when he found Steele in front of her house hitting her husband, police said. The 34-year-old mom spent the previous night in jail after being arrested on domestic abuse charges, the Des Moines Register reported.

The cop fired his gun when the family’s German Shepherd, Sammy, pounced on his back and bit him, police said. The bullets hit Steele instead of the attacking dog, police said.

Steele’s 3-year-old son was standing next to her when she was shot.

The dog attack justified the shooting, prosecutors determined. Hill was cleared of any charges and returned to work earlier this year.

Cops previously released a 12-second body cam video showing the cop fire twice without warning.

“Get your dog!” Hill yelled as a dog growls in the background. The video does not show the shepherd jump on the armed officer. Animal officials later determined Sammy was not vicious and returned the pet to the family.

But Steele’s family and local media have long pushed for the release of the full body cam video, plus footage from the cop’s squad car and 911 phone calls.

The Iowa Public Information Board sided with the family and media in the Thursday decision.

The board, which oversees the state’s open records laws, voted 4-3 to pursue charges against Iowa Department of Public Safety, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the Burlington Police Department and the Des Moines County Attorney.

“I’m, for one, uncomfortable with law enforcement determining what should and shouldn’t be released,” said Information Board member Bill Monroe, who voted in favor of the lawsuit.

Formal charges will be filed in the coming weeks, and the case will be handled by a judge who can recommend the release of the records.






Officer Jesse Hill (l.) shot and killed 34-year-old mom Autumn Steele in January.



Steele's husband Gabriel reacts after the Burlington Animal Hearing Board unanimously decide that the family dog, Sammy, a German shepherd mix, is not vicious or dangerous and should be returned.


Steele's 3-year-old son was by her side when she was shot and killed.


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