DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The family of a man killed by a Polk County sheriff’s deputy two years ago alleges in a federal lawsuit that the office is “covering up” the killing by refusing to release footage and records.
The family of Isaiah Hayes, 25, of Ashland, Wisconsin, filed the lawsuit on June 30 in Iowa, the Des Moines Register reported. The lawsuit takes issue with the county's refusal to release body camera or dash camera footage of the July 17, 2018, shooting.
The sheriff’s office has said Deputy Ryan Phillips saw Hayes exit and run from a stolen car he was driving. Phillips reported Hayes had a weapon and that Phillips fired when Hayes refused orders to drop it. The family's lawsuit says Hayes had a BB gun on him, but was running away and not threatening the deputy when he was shot.
A grand jury declined to pursue charges against Phillips, who has returned to work. The county says Phillips acted appropriately, but has refused to release the recordings, saying they are “investigative reports” that can be withheld from the public indefinitely.
The lawsuit alleges the county is withholding the video because it would show Phillips “shooting Isaiah in the back while Isaiah did not pose a threat.”
An open government group, the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, is also suing Polk County to try to force it to release recordings. Trail in that lawsuit is set to begin next month.