Update, December 1, 2015, 6:00 p.m.: Due to a correction to the data in another state, Iowa's rank has changed to tied for 11th overall.
A grieving Burlington, Iowa, family had to fight state and local agencies for months to get official records about a fatal police shooting of a 34-year-old mother. Although such records are routinely released in many jurisdictions, the family began to make progress with its request only after Iowa’s Public Information Board, created three years ago to arbitrate such disputes, intervened on its behalf.
The fact that state authorities sought to obstruct the disclosure explains, in part, why Iowa received an overall grade of D+ in the State Integrity Investigation, an assessment of state government transparency and accountability conducted by the Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity. The score ranks the Hawkeye State tied for 11th out of 50 states. That’s a drop from the first time the project was carried out, in 2012, when Iowa earned a C+ and ranked 7th, though the scores are not directly comparable due to changes made to improve and update the study and its methodology.
A 12-second excerpt from a video of the incident, taken by a policy body camera and released by the state Division of Criminal Investigation, attracted considerable public interest. It initially shows a snowy residential street filled with the sound of a child crying. The video shakes as the officer runs towards a couple fighting on the sidewalk. “Stop it,” he yells, and then, as a dog begins barking, he tells them to “get your dog” away. The camera jolts, and two shots ring out. Off camera, the woman groans after being struck by two bullets.