Iowa police released body cam footage of the January incident where a police officer shot and killed a woman as he attempted to shoot and kill her dog.
It’s a 12-second video and doesn’t show much, but it does capture the sounds of a growling dog as well as the cop shouting, “get your dog,” before he opens fire.
Burlington police are hoping it shows enough to satisfy the local media and public in that officer Jesse Hill was justified in killing Autumn Steele, a 34-year-old woman involved in a domestic altercation with her husband.
Hill claimed the dog had bitten him, but that is impossible to tell from the short video. It is unclear why police did not release a longer clip, except, of course, if they are trying to hide something, which is usually the case.
Burlington police officer Jesse Hill told an investigator last month a dog attacked and bit him before he discharged his weapon, accidentally striking Autumn Steele, who died.
Hill made the statement Jan. 20 to Burlington Animal Control Officer Tim Orth two weeks after the fatal shooting as Orth was conducting a vicious animal investigation into events that led to Steele’s death.
Hill’s statement, the first to be released to the public about the Jan. 6 shooting, was submitted by Orth to the animal control board as part of his investigation to determine if the dog was “vicious and dangerous” and should be euthanized.
The five-member board voted unanimously Wednesday the dog wasn’t vicious and should be returned to its owner, Gabriel Steele. About 25 people attended the hearing.
Hill told Orth he was dispatched to 104 S. Garfield Ave. minutes before the shooting about a domestic disturbance between Steele and her husband, Gabriel. When he arrived, he saw the dog running behind Autumn Steele.
He then saw Gabriel Steele walking away from the house holding a small child with Autumn Steele running after them.
“Officer Hill related that he exited his vehicle and told them (the couple) to stop,” according to a report submitted to the Burlington Animal Control Board.
“Officer Hill was separating the two parties and stepped back a couple of steps. … While getting them apart, he heard the dog growl and immediately felt the dog bite his upper left thigh.
“He (Hill) began to pedal away from the dog and advised the owner to ‘get their dog.’ He was backing away from the dog when the dog was advancing on him with its teeth showing. Officer Hill drew his duty weapon.
“As he continued to back pedal away from the dog, he lost his balance and fired twice at the dog. After the second shot was fired, the dog fled his area.”
According to police reports, Steele died a short time later from a single gunshot wound to the chest. The dog also was wounded in the incident and was treated at Allgood Animal Hospital for a wound to its right shoulder.
Last month, Des Moines County Attorney Amy Beavers cleared Hill of any wrongdoing, stating that evidence from his body cam, along with witness statements, convinced her that he was in fear for his life and “had to make an instantaneous decision as the threat was occurring.”