City officials are blocking the release of video from the fatal police shooting of an Iowa woman in front of her toddler son.
The city of Burlington agreed to pay $2 million to the family of Autumn Steele in the fatal January 2015 shooting by Officer Jesse Hill during a domestic disturbance call, reported The Hawk Eye.
Hill shot and killed the 34-year-old mother as one of her two children looked on following an argument with her husband.
Investigators said Hill was trying to protect himself from the family’s German shepherd mix when he slipped on some ice, and he said the gun went off after he fell down.
Hill has claimed he shot the dog after it bit him while breaking up the disturbance, but an attorney for Steele’s family said the officer’s body camera and dashboard video contradict his account.
Only a 12-second clip of the incident, which includes the sound of gunshots, has been released.
Attorney David O’Brien said Steele’s family was satisfied with the dollar amount, but he complained that the settlement does not require the city to publicly release the full video evidence.
“Ultimately the family agreed to settle (the wrongful death lawsuit) without requiring the release of the video,” O’Brien said. “The Steele family will continue to fight for the release of the video because the public has the right to review this critical evidence and draw its own conclusions regarding Hill’s conduct.”
The agreement has not yet been approved by a court so it has not been officially settled, according to an attorney for the city.
Steele’s sons were 3 and 6 years old at the time of the shooting, and they joined their father and maternal grandmother as plaintiffs in the suit.
Hill was cleared of wrongdoing by Des Moines County Attorney Amy Beavers a few weeks after the shooting and eventually returned to active duty as a Burlington patrolman.
A jury trial had been scheduled to being Aug. 20 in federal court.