“#Gabby Petito Case Review Reveals ‘Several Unintentional Mistakes’ Made By Moab Police
First and foremost there’s the fact the police in Moab, Utah actually stopped Gabby and fiancé Brian Laundrie on August 12, about two weeks before her death, on a complaint of domestic disturbance — and then sending them on their way.
Video: How Gabby’s Parents Said Goodbye On New Year’s
The entire incident was famously captured on multiple police body cam feeds — videos which have been watched several millions of times on YouTube.
According to records, a witness called the police saying they saw a young man striking his girlfriend. Despite this explicit description of domestic battery — and a horribly distraught Gabby — the police seem willing to take the couple’s story that she was the one overreacting and doing the hitting. All that happened to the couple was they were told to separate for a night.
Ever since all this came out, critics have called for an investigation into the Moab police who botched what appears to have been a genuine chance to save a young girl in trouble. Well, eventually they got their wish and a review was conducted of the stop. And last week the city of Moab finally released its findings.
According to the independent investigation, officers did make what they called “several unintentional mistakes” while during the stop. No kidding. The mistakes, the report concluded, “stemmed from the fact that officers failed to cite Ms. Petito for domestic violence.”
Wait, sorry, failed to cite Gabby??
Yep. See, in their original report, the cops said the incident could be described “more accurately as a mental/emotional health ‘break’ than a domestic assault.” And yet, they had Gabby admitting she hit Brian multiple times, making her the aggressor in their eyes. And according to Utah law, police are obligated to cite or arrest aggressors in domestic violence assaults.
Related: Utah Police Got Paid For Their Body Cam Footage?
Seems like an odd thing to say they got wrong, all things considered. But maybe just taking action would have opened things up. After all, as the review also notes, “just because Gabby was determined to be the predominant aggressor as it related to this incident, doesn’t mean she was the long-term predominant aggressor in this relationship.”
But veteran Moab Police Officer Eric Pratt thought differently; he was quoted as telling the Captain he worried arresting Gabby would only increase Brian’s hold over her, saying:
“So, if he’s going to bail her out, is he not going to have more control over her now?”
It’s a tough situation, that’s for sure, one that hit the officers hard. One cop is quoted in the report as saying after her body was discovered:
“I’m desperately (expletive) over that she got killed. I really am. I would have done anything to stop it if I would have known that was coming.”
The 102-page report also mentions the fact police never got an official statement from the 911 caller in the first place — something which might have changed who got arrested given what he said he saw.
Ultimately, however, despite all the mistakes, the review didn’t actually recommend any real changes, just some additional training in domestic violence investigation and understanding of state laws and statutes. The city of Moab even released a statement praising its officers, noting they “showed kindness, respect and empathy in their handling of this incident.”
Police Captain Brandon Ratcliffe said:
“Would Gabby be alive today if this case was handled differently? That is an impossible question to answer despite it being the answer many people want to know. Nobody knows and nobody will ever know the answer to that question.”
No, we won’t. But we do know the way they did handle it, that girl didn’t see her next birthday.
[Image via FOX13/YouTube.]
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