BURLINGTON, Iowa — A judge has dismissed open records complaints against the Burlington Police Department and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation but will let a case against the Des Moines county attorney continue.
Administrative law judge Karen Doland last week cited procedural defects in the dismissed cases, which stem from investigative records amassed after Burlington Officer Jesse Hill accidentally shot Autumn Steele to death in January 2015 while responding to a fight between Steele and her husband, according to The Hawk Eye (http://bit.ly/2czxX6f ). Doland dismissed the complaints without prejudice, meaning the cases could be refiled.
A hearing involving Des Moines County Attorney Amy Beavers remains scheduled for Oct. 21 in Des Moines.
Mark McCormick, the attorney retained by the Iowa Public Information board to prosecute Beavers and the two agencies, said Thursday he will meet with the board’s executive director before deciding how to move forward.
Hill allegedly tried to shoot the family’s dog as it attacked him but slipped on some snow and ice and shot Steele in the chest instead. Hill was not charged in the shooting and returned to duty.
Steele’s family and The Hawk Eye requested copies of all public records related to the incident, including police audio, body camera footage, 911 recordings and investigative reports. The agencies have said they satisfied Iowa law by releasing a 12-second body camera video of the incident and that any records marked as “investigative reports” can lawfully be kept confidential.
In June, McCormick charged Beavers and the two agencies with violating the state’s open records law. The agencies subsequently asked that the complaints be dismissed.
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This story has been corrected to show the ruling was issued last week, not Thursday.
Information from: The Hawk Eye, http://www.thehawkeye.com