Sunday 25 February 2018

Video shows woman being fatally shot by police in front of toddler

Autumn Steele was fatally shot in front of her toddler

Andrew Buncombe

Relatives of a woman shot dead by a police officer who was apparently aiming at a her lunging dog, are battling for the release of all video footage that shows her being killed in front of her three-year-old son.

Autumn Steele, 34, was fatally injured after being struck by bullets fired by officer Jesse Hill at her home in Burlington, Iowa. A 12-second video clip of the incident shows the officer firing twice without warning.

Police claimed the officer fired after the family’s German Shepherd, Sammy, pounced on his back and bit him. The bullets hit Ms Steele instead of the attacking dog, said police, who have refused to release all the footage.

Now, regulators in Iowa are to sue the police force after it again refused to release the remaining footage of the incident.

Local media said the Iowa Public Information Board voted to launch legal action against the Burlington Police Department and other agencies.

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, according to Iowa Public Radio.

Ms Steele was shot after officers responded to reports of a domestic abuse incident. Prosectors decided that the dog’s attack justified the officer’s actions and no charges were brought.

The footage released earlier this year does not show the family dog jumping on the officer, though it can he heard growling.

“Get your dog!” Mr Hill can be heard to yell.

At that point, the camera angle rears skywards and two shots can be heard.

Independent News Service

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