WORTH COUNTY, Iowa – The state is refusing to release records involving the case of a man who died after being shocked by deputies.
The Des Moines Register sought the records from the Sept. 22 incident in Northwood after Worth County Attorney Jeffrey Greve cleared officers of any wrongdoing.
The deputies shocked 39-year-old Michael Zubrod at least four times after responding to a complaint and finding him beating his girlfriend with a hammer and scissors. He also attacked a deputy.
After finally subduing Zubrod, he became unresponsive and couldn’t be revived by paramedics.
The Register reported Tuesday that it (http://dmreg.co/1g883Q6 ) sought records in the case after it was closed, but assistant attorney general Jeff Peterzalek said Iowa law lets public records remain secret after an investigation ends.
Peterzalek said it would be burdensome for agencies like the Division of Criminal Investigation to comply with such requests because of the hundreds of people who seek the information.
“You have to treat everyone the same,” he said.
If the DCI released information obtained when it worked with local law enforcement, that also could make other agencies hesitant to work with the DCI, Peterzalek said.
“If every time they gather these materials, whether they’re witness statements or Taser reports, and it’s automatically turned over in response to a public records request, that would have a tremendous chilling effect on the ability of the DCI to do what the DCI does,” Peterzalek said.
The use of stun guns by Iowa police agencies has been raised recently after allegations the devices were used inappropriately in several cases.
The Iowa Senate approved a bill last month that would require officers to receive standardized training on the use of stun guns before being allowed to use the devices.