DES MOINES, Iowa. – An open government group has filed a lawsuit seeking to force Polk County to release recordings and additional information about the fatal shooting of a motorist from Wisconsin.
The lawsuit filed by the Iowa Freedom of Information Council contends that the county has refused to explain why a deputy stopped 25-year-old Isaiah Hayes outside of Des Moines last July. It says the county has not clarified whether Hayes was armed when he was killed and how many shots were fired at him.
A grand jury declined to pursue charges against the deputy, Ryan Phillips, who has returned to work. The county says he acted appropriately but has refused to release recordings and information about the shooting, including dash camera video and audio. The county says those are “investigative reports” that can be withheld from the public indefinitely.
The sheriff’s office has said Phillips saw Hayes exit the stolen car he was driving and flee on foot. Phillips reported Hayes had a weapon and that he fired at Hayes when he refused orders to drop it. Investigators have refused to say, however, whether any weapon was found.