OPEN RECORDS: Register Files Lawsuits Against State

Generic Justice Scales

Two lawsuits have been filed by the Des Moines Register against state agencies, seeking the release of public records in separate cases.

The lawsuits relate to a videotape of a 17-year-old girl being restrained at the Iowa Juvenile Home in November of 2012, and reports pertaining to the death of a man who was tasered several times during an incident in Worth County in 2013.

The Register is seeking the video as part of its investigation into alleged mistreatment at the Iowa Juvenile Home, which is now closed. The video, which is referenced in a unemployment hearing, allegedly shows an employee slamming a girl’s head against a concrete wall. That employee was terminated.

The Iowa Department of Human Services would not release the video, citing a concern over the possibility of losing federal funding. An appeal to the Iowa Public Information Board by the Register was unsuccessful.

The Register says it is seeking the records regarding the death of 39-year-old Michael Zubrod because it was given inconsistent information from law enforcement officials about how many times Zubrod was tased and how many deputies were involved in the incident.

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