- Associated Press - Sunday, January 8, 2017

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) - A judge could hear arguments from an Iowa newspaper in April as it seeks records related to a fatal 2015 police shooting in Burlington.

The Hawk Eye reports (https://bit.ly/2i5EJCg ) an April 19 hearing has been scheduled in its effort to obtain police videos and other records. Burlington officer Jesse Hill accidentally shot 34-year-old Autumn Steele in January 2015 while responding to a fight between Steele and her husband.

The newspaper and Steele’s family want to see investigative files related to the shooting.

Burlington police and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation are resisting the open records request. They say they have fulfilled what the law requires by releasing basic details about the shooting and a 12-second video from Hill’s body camera.

The agencies’ lawyers argue that the Division of Criminal Investigation went beyond what was required by releasing the video clip, so they have filed motions to dismiss the records case. The judge will rule on those motions before deciding whether to go forward with the April hearing.

The case centers on the question of whether the exemption from open records law for law enforcement investigative records is absolute.

And the case could help establish the circumstances under which recordings from police body and dashboard cameras should be released to the public. Special prosecutor Mark McCormick, who was appointed to help the Iowa Public Information Board in this case, said there isn’t a clear law stating when those videos must be released.

“There are no cases in Iowa that has determined if body camera or dashboard videos are confidential,” McCormick said Friday during a motions hearing in the case.


Information from: The Hawk Eye, https://www.thehawkeye.com

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