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The Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation just released a 12-second copcam video taken when Burlington Police Officer Jesse Hill shot and killed Autumn Steele. According to Officer Hill and eyewitnesses, he was trying to shoot her German Shepherd – which had biten him on the thigh. The dog jumped on his back, forcing him to fall backwards. Even from this short excerpt we can see that Officer Hill was responding to a violent, chaotic domestic disturbance. A court ruling cleared Officer Hill of all charges relating to the homicide. Sad day for all concerned.

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    • Clarification:

      I am not being critical of this website. I am simply stating that I am unable to draw any conclusions about anything based on that video.

      • You are unable to discern what just happened based off this video? Lets say you walked up to the scene and saw the dead woman and later the ballistics matching the officers firearm. If you THEN watched this video would that help piece together what had happened?

        The video is far from useless. Officer Piles on the other hand….

    • I agree, you can’t tell anything from that. Perhaps if you went through each frame individually, and knew the entire story and had access to other evidence…

      But here’s the thing, if you or I slipped on the ice and killed someone we would be in prison.


      • Not nessecarrily. Assuming the same string of events and same actions the draw and attempt of self defense are pretty legal in most parts of the country. The woman being shot was simple accident, you can’t even really argue ND.

        I remember a story some time ago where a man shot his wife trying to make holes in his roof to mount a dish. She was on the roof to help, he knew that and decided to use a gun as a drill. In my book that was clearly criminal negligence, but he was not even arrested let alone prosecuted.

        • His finger was on the trigger when it shouldn’t have been. That’s negligence, caused by inadequate training.
          I’ve seen several competent shooters slip and fall at run-n-gun events. Without exception, they kept the muzzle downrange, and the finger out of the trigger. That’s proper training.

    • I got a few things from the video. There was a dog, there was a woman, there was a man carrying a child, and there was a cop.

      He could have just as easily hit any of the other people. Since he doesn’t have to go to court (unlike if it had been one of us), he gets to avoid all those legal fees for lawyers and such. Maybe he would like to make some monthly donations for the motherless three kids?

      Brings back that old saying – We’re from the government and we are here to help.

  1. I’m all for putting dog-shooters in prison before they become people-shooters, but if the dog actually bit him before he shot, it sounds like self defense.

    • Unless the dog was defending his owner against someone it percieved as a threat. Not that cops could ever come across as unnecessarily threatening, I know, its hard to believe.

      • Jack, your statement my friend wins you the internet idiot award!!!!!!

        The Officer was responding to a violent, chaotic domestic disturbance when he was attacked and bitten by the dog.

        • Absolutely right Jon, that idiotic comment by Jack crossed the boundary from plain old ordinary everyday dumb@$$ to world class dumb@$$.

        • What a pathetic kitty. He woulda been laughed of the force 30 years ago for letting something so minor as a dog bite faze him in the least.

          Trying to kill a dog for defending his property? Hang that pantywaist – he has no business in LE. What a piece of human garbage.

        • What a pathetic kitty. He woulda been laughed of the force 30 years ago for letting something so minor as a dog bite faze him in the least.
          Yeah, but we now have the new militarized police that pulls out a gun and starts shooting to solve all of their problems. Hey, when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

      • The Officer was responding to a violent, chaotic domestic disturbance when he was attacked and bitten by the dog.
        And we know this because?????

    • It wasn’t that the woman was behind the target, he apparently missed the dog after all.

      He fell, with weapon drawn and finger on the trigger for a very legitimate defensive shoot he fell and the round went off target.

      It’s something that can just as easily happen to you, draw and aim with nobody but the threat in sight. Then you find your self bouncing off the pavement with the gun pointing any possible direction in the very same moment you decide to shoot.

      • I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, on my tiny phone it looks like he was shooting the dog as he fell and the dog was behind her when it stabilized the camera… Tiny phone screen. But like I said adrenaline dump. I’ve been attacked and bitten by a crazy Chow-chow as a teenager. It’s not an easy thing to fight off.

        • Go F yourself troll. I was 13 or 14 and the dog was bigeer than me and bit me from behind without warning. Tell me you were ready to fight off a large dog at 13 when it attacks you from behind without warning. I’ll tell you the truth, your a liar.

    • I lost my mind!?

      Who put him in that position for that experience to unfold?
      And implode?
      He did; he has to own this regardless of ajudication.
      Stil an ND to me.

  2. And we the public are supposed to trust police (who have a LOT less training then most of us) with firearms? Some full auto’s?

    • Frank,
      So my friend what exactly are your qualifications with firearms? Furthermore, there is far more to being a law enforcement officer than just firearms training!!!! So, I ask how are you all around better trained to do the job, or are you just another internet expert?

      • I dunno, maybe he goes out in a cow pasture and shoots some tin cans, probably more than what most of our valiant military and police do. I remember Jeff Cooper stating that if soldiers and cops are good with guns, they probably did not get it by being trained in the service.

  3. Your guns, these folks will be coming for them, dutifully following orders. Immune from prosecution. The jackboots are coming. The jackboots are coming.

  4. This is one reason why guns like the Beretta 92 in double action only is the gun Cops should be required to use. I do not know what pistol the Cop had but I bet it was a safety-less striker fired plastiky gun with no manual safety and a short stroke single action type pull. These guns are an accident waiting to happen as under stress just too many cops put their fingers on the trigger before they are ready to shoot. I read about another incident in one of the gun mags not too long ago where a cop got out of his car and slipped and shot a passenger that was sitting in a car that he had stopped. Neither man had done anything wrong that were sitting in the car that he had stopped. Luckily the man shot survived but got if I remember correctly 6 million from the Police Department as well he should have.

    • So you think that the solution to an accidental\negligent discharge is to increase the trigger-pull? You’d do well at the NYPD armory where they make sure that their guns won’t go off by accident but also won’t hit what someone is aiming at when they do go off.

      BTW, they still go off by accident. Because you can’t fix that with a trigger pull increase unless you make the gun unfireable.

      • Because you can’t fix that with a trigger pull increase unless you make the gun unfireable.

        That sounds like a reasonable suggestion.

        • According to Massad Ayoob his study of police departments that ditched the Glock years ago and went to the double action only auto had way less discharges as well as way less accidental killings of innocent civilians. These are facts that were proven in studies years ago, its nothing new or sensational. Its actually quite old information.

        • Because you can’t fix that with a trigger pull increase unless you make the gun unfireable.
          That sounds like a reasonable suggestion.
          My reaction as well.
          It really is hard to fix stupid.

      • >> BTW, they still go off by accident. Because you can’t fix that with a trigger pull increase unless you make the gun unfireable.

        Does the frequency of them going off by accident remain unchanged, though?

        • Massad Ayoob’s study on he matter of unsafe Cop Guns found that when Police departments switched over to long stroke traditional double action only guns like the double action special Beretta 92 model accidental shootings and accidental civilian killings went down dramatically. Let face facts walking around with a plasticky single action type auto loader is like walking around with a Colt Single Action Army Revolver with the hammer cocked back, its accidentally going to go off much sooner than later. That is mechanics 101.

    • Striker-fired guns, without a manual safety, have become the dominant type of handgun in law enforcement, and with most CCW folks.

      However, I’m confident that hammer-fired guns with Double Action/Single Action (DA/SA) or Double Action Only triggers are less prone to negligent discharges. The Los Angeles Sherrif’fs Office ND study (posted on TTAG a couple of days ago) fully supports my own observations about striker-fired guns vs hammer fired.

      No doubt this will generate a lot of hate from the “just keep your booger hook off the bag switch” crowd, and the “Moar training” guys. But it is what it is, a striker fired gun is easier to fire. That can be a blessing, or a curse, depending on the situation.

      • Keep in mind that in a situation like this it may have little or nothing to do with gun handling or trigger weight.

        The gun was pulled with every intention of pulling the trigger, he may well have followed every rule of safe handling you could name but if in a struggle you find your self taking a jarring fall AFTER taking aim and placing your finger on the trigger with every intention to shoot the target you have the potential for a truly accidental shooting.

        • But again falling down with a long hard double action only auto will result with less chance of the gun going off accidentally and it will result 100 per cent with a gun like a single action safety-less pre-loaded striker fired system. Massad Ayoobs study on this proved it.

      • MD-I agree with you. I am a fan manual safeties. That being said I’ve had a Taurus 85 revolver, a TCP and a Kel-tec PF9-and I didn’t shoot myself or anyone else. Or come close. Some constable’s just shouldn’t have a gun…

        • The revolver as well as the traditional double action only auto loader have long strong heavy trigger pulls which is a type of safety within its design. Still it does not prevent a properly trained person from hitting the target with such a double action only system in auto loaders. The pre-loaded plasticky striker fired weapons are short stroke trigger systems that mimic a single action auto loader pull or a revolver with the hammer cocked back i.e. an accident waiting to happen much sooner than later.

    • “just too many cops put their fingers on the trigger before they are ready to shoot.”

      That is the issue that needs to be fixed. The equipment they’re using is wholly and completely irrelevant.

      • “just too many cops put their fingers on the trigger before they are ready to shoot.

        Doncha ya think they teach that at the academy? I’ll bet my retirement that every single LE academy in the US teaches proper gun handling, including the ol “keep yer finger off the trigger” rule. However cops, and others, continue to have NDs. And NDs are demonstrably more frequent with striker fired guns. (See the LASD report I mentioned earlier). ND’s CAN be reduced with a higher level of training. However most departments don’t have the time, budget or inclination. So we come back to hardware.

        • Enjoy living on the handouts of others. Since that f-wad POS Darryl Gates paramiliarized policing 40 years ago, that has exactly been what the boots were taught – kill everything that ‘threatens’ you in the least.

        • ND’s CAN be reduced with a higher level of training.
          ND’s can be reduced by getting rid of all the LEO Immunity and rubber stamping from the DA,s and Judges. Why be careful when there are no consequences?
          I killed some lady while trying to shoot a dog, I am good to go.

      • Your 100 per cent wrong on this one. Massad Ayoob in his study on cops shooting themselves and innocent civilians found that when they were forced to switch over to double action long strong only autos like the Beretta special model double action only the accident rate went down dramatically. It does not take rocket science to understand how humans panic under pressure and how walking around with a weapon that is essentially like a single action revolver with the hammer cocked back will not cause an accidental discharge much sooner than later and that it is inevitable no matter how much training one receives. You cannot ever erase the human error out of the equation as no one is infallible and they are fallible most of the time.

  5. Guy runs full break at dogs owner and put hands on her, causing her to scream. Dog does exactly what any good dog would do and bites attacker. Guy slips and murders unarmed woman.

    If your dog would not have bitten that cop,
    You need a new dog.

    • We still need them to some degree. But this shoot-dog-if-it-bites-right-on-scene thing is disgusting. Shouldn’t it be euthanized by animal control? I can see myself in jail if I shoot my neighbor’s dog in the street even if it has bitten me

      • You have a right to defend yourself, even if it is a dog attacking you. News Flash: Dogs can and have kill adults and children without provocation.

        • Yea I know. If the dog is still attacking I’ll shoot it. But if it has finished biting and just sits there probably I’ll be charged with animal cruelty if I shoot it then.

        • @Tom
          Cops have killed people without being threatened with lethal force. Try to shoot them while they sit in a cruiser

  6. The lesson I got from this incident and others I have seen on Youtube is that IF YOU KNOW THE POLICE ARE COMING, put your dog on a a LEASH.

    Oh, another thing. Snow and ice are slippery.

    Other than that and from the poor video, I don’t know anything else.

    One question I would ask the officer is “did he shoot the woman in what he considered self-defense or was it an accident because the dog jumped on his back.

    I am not standing up for the officer.
    And I don’t know this if is what happened.

    But one thing I know is clear, if an owner of a big dog allowed it to attack me then I would shoot the dog.

    If the owner commanded the dog to attack me, I would shoot the owner first, then the dog.
    Plain and simple.

    • Probably you’d wanna shoot the dog if the owner is not pulling a gun or a knife and charging.
      After the dog is incapacitated, it’ll depend on the owner’ action then

  7. There is software that will effectively stabilize this video. You’ll lose the edges but it would be interesting if someone could run it through the mill to see what could be found.

  8. Meanwhile here in IL, the cop could just have deleted the vid without criminal charges. Yes that’s right: IL passed a much hooplahed body cam bill in May 2015, slipping it under the radar. Police unions got to the hick state Reps. from all the small towns in southern IL, and the Good Old Boys decided to let the cops make “losing” (deliberately destroying evidence) the vid a “departmental charge.”

    Once again the Klan element in the IL legislature selling out to the police unions, so they can kill armed citizens with legal cover, just like NRA contract lobbyist Todd Vandermyde sold out NRA members to the anti-gun Chiefs of Police by putting Duty to Inform in hick Rep. Brandon Phelps “good” “NRA backed” HB183 carry bill. Go team NRA!

  9. Sad day for all concerned.
    How do you figure that?
    The cops and the city skated.
    The cops and the city were immune and happy.

  10. Cant’ get much info from the very short clip. What were the circumstances leading up to the contact? Why did he rush her in the first place? And come on, I bet the own guys dog would have reacted the same way if someone had rushed him in such an aggressive manner, how could you not expect it to? Wrongful death lawsuit? I sure hope so.

  11. Cops nowadays are the biggest feelings on their sleeve, busy-body do-gooder pansies in the realm of “good guys”. I swear they have the same mentality as spoiled rich kids that never do anything wrong and have momma and daddy come bail them out of trouble every time. It’s sickening.

    I get that accidents happen, but if I accidentally kill somebody, at a minimum I’m likely going to court. An accident almost ALWAYS involves a bad decision that wasn’t thought through and went the wrong way. AKA negligence. This continual making excuses for poor decisions is a dangerous path. For anybody. But especially for those that are tasked with keeping the peace. Sickening.

    • Yes you are definitely correct. I too was thinking the same thing yesterday. I would be way more terrified of being stopped by a Cop than assaulted by a criminal. I can deal with a criminal because I know how he will react and how he thinks but a cop is another matter altogether as you never know what they are thinking or how they will react or treat someone.

    • As well you should. Any police criminal is 100 times more dangerous than any common criminal, because they have the motive to plant or destroy evidence, they have the opportunity to plant or destroy evidence, and they have the method to plant or destroy evidence. Cops are the only position within the criminal justice system who have the knowledge and opportunity to commit a crime, and the ability to cover it up- ALONE.

      If you want to buy a judge, two parties must be involved in the conspiracy. Today in Chicago in the year 2015, you can potentially become a cop with a G.E.D. How’s that done? Do a tour in the military, get busted down twice and come out a private, get a military service waiver, and apply to the CPD. Regular patrolmen start out making $45,000/ yr., and it goes up quickly to $60,000.

      The politicians want cops that are at the lower end of the intelligence scale, who won’t ask questions, and will follow orders (to disarm you when they decide it’s time.) For $60,000/ yr., departments could require at least a bachelor’s degree to apply, and have lines around the block, because they give you a badge. Cops are generally underqualified and overpaid, the sort of lower class blue collar types who would be working in a steel mill, if America still had any industrial base.


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