The husband of a Burlington woman who was shot and killed by a Burlington policeman is asking a state board to release a video recording and other information about the case. In January, Burlington police officer Jesse Hill answering a domestic disturbance call shot and killed 34-year old Autumn Steele after the family’s dog attacked him. Gabriel Steele made his plea to members of the Iowa Public Information Board on Thursday.
“I believe the public, myself as her husband, Autumn’s mother and her father, we have a right to know what happened, what is in the investigation, what happened on the video,” Steele said Thursday. “That’s all I have to say ma’am.”
Gina Colbert is Autumn Steele’s mother and she also addressed the board.
“For 254 days we have looked for answers about what happened that morning,” Colbert told the board. “We have received precious few.”
The family and The Burlington Hawk Eye newspaper are asking the Iowa Public Information Board to order the public release of 911 recordings and more video from the officer’s body camera, but Burlington police and the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation argue that information is exempt from the state’s public records law. The board has been considering the family’s request for two months and the board’s executive director recommended it be dismissed on Thursday, but the board voted to continue to investigate the case.
In February, the county attorney announced no charges would be filed in connection with the shooting. A 12-second video from the officer’s body camera was released to The Burlington Hawk Eye in February. It showed the couple fighting, the policeman asking the couple to call off their dog and then two gunshots are heard. One of the bullets hit the woman. A neighbor told WQAD in the Quad Cities it appeared to him the policeman was trying to shoot the dog, but tripped and hit the woman.
(Reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Joyce Russell; additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)