The Unarmed Shooting of Autumn Steele: One Year Later

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Autumn Steele

The community of Burlington, Iowa will commemorate the one-year anniversary of the accidental shooting of 34-year Autumn Steele by police officer Jesse Hill on January 6, 2015.

Steele’s family, friends and supporters will gather at the Burlington Police Department, located at 424 N. 3rd St. 52601 in Burlington, at 1 pm in their call for justice.

As reported by Iowa Free Press, Steele was shot by Burlington Police Officer Jesse Hill. The officer was attempting to fire his weapon at the Steele family dog, named Sammy, saying he feared for his safety. Hill slipped, causing two rounds to discharge.

The memorial will be hosted by Marsha Soto, an animal rights advocate who has participated in over 30 demonstrations against police corruption. Soto, a native of Illinois, has traveled to Burlington on numerous occasions since Steele’s death in January 2015.

Soto has been involved in the effort since February when the Burlington Animal Hearing Board ruled unanimously that Sammy, the family dog, was not dangerous and was allowed to be returned to the family on February 25.

Soto told Iowa Free Press, “If Hill is so afraid of dogs, he needs to find another means of support.”

“Autumn should have went back to jail,” Soto said, instead of “being killed in cold blood.”

Organizers are trying to reach out to the hacktivist collective Anonymous and the grassroots organization Cop Block to help support their cause. According to Soto, members of both groups have joined past demonstrations.

Soto said that she and others want Hill and Des Moines County Attorney Amy Beavers, who dropped the charges against Hill on February 27, to understand, “We will not be silent and we are not going away anytime soon.”

  • Gina Klinner Waters-Colbert

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