Family of Iowa Woman Fatally Shot by Cop in Front of Toddler to Receive $2 Million Settlement

The family of an Iowa woman who was holding her toddler when she was fatally shot to death by a police officer will reportedly receive $2 million as part of a wrongful death settlement.

Autumn Steele, 34, was accidentally shot and killed in 2015 by officer Jesse Hill, who was responding to a domestic abuse call. Hill claimed he fired his weapon after a German shepherd attacked him. The bullet struck Steele in the chest and the arm, according to The Gazette. Hill also hit the family’s dog, who ultimately survived the injury, the paper reported.

Dave O’Brien, the family’s attorney, revealed news about the settlement Monday morning, which he underscored as vindication for “the Steele family’s claim that Hill acted wrongfully in causing Autumn’s death.”

“However, everyone should know that cities and their insurance carriers do not pay $2 million to settle a claim unless they have concluded the claim has significant merit,” O’Brein said in a statement according to the Des Moines Register.

The family claimed in a 2016 suit that Hill shot his weapon in “unreasonable, unnecessary and reckless manner,” The Gazette reported.

Steele’s mother, Gina Colbert, said the $2 million settlement was “recognition” by both the city of Hill that he “acted in a wrongful and unjustified manner in shooting and killing my beautiful daughter,” according to the Gazette.

Only a 12-second clip of the incident from Hill’s body camera has been publicly released, despite repeated efforts from the Steele family and a local newspaper to make the full video public, according to the Register.

O’Brien, who has viewed the full video, said the footage doesn’t support Hill’s claim that he was bitten by the dog prior to discharging his weapon.

Amy Beavers, the Des Moines county attorney, cleared Hill of all criminal wrongdoing a month after the incident.

Beavers cited the body camera video as one of the reasons for clearing Hill. In a report, she said the officer was bitten by the dog, prompting him to pull his weapon. She said pictures were taken of Hill’s injury, but the Register noted that state and city officials have yet to disclose the photos.

Hill continues to serve as an officer for the Burlington Police Department, the paper reported.