Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie traffic jam officers should be put to the test, the report says

Petito and Laundrie were traveling through Moab on August 12 as part of a longer road trip when police responded to a call in which a witness said he saw the couple involved in a domestic dispute before driving away.

Officers pulled the pair over after the van exceeded the speed limit, abruptly left its lane and hit a curb, according to a police report.

Body camera video from officers Eric Pratt and Daniel Robbins shows Petito and Laundrie – who were engaged – admitting to having a fight in which Petito said she beat her fiancé first.

During lengthy conversations recorded on bodycams, Pratt said Petito should go to jail as she is considered the primary aggressor and Laundrie the victim under Utah’s statutes of domestic violence.

With Brian Laundrie dead, here's another where the authorities could look for answers to what happened to Gabby Petito

Both Petito and Laundrie objected, and the officers eventually agreed not to target Petito, as long as she and Laundrie agreed to spend the night separately.

In the independent investigation report, Captain Brandon Ratcliffe of the Price City Police Department said officers neglected their duty by failing to file any charges.

“I think officers responded to a call about domestic violence and had a probable cause that domestic violence had been committed,” Ratcliffe said. “This should have meant that an arrest was made, either by citation or remand in custody.”

Ratcliffe noted, however, that there was apparently only sufficient evidence to target Petito in the case, not Laundrie.

Bodycam footage reveals what Gabby Petito told police about a domestic dispute with fiancé Brian Laundrie

As part of their vanlife road trip, which was featured on social media, Petito and Laundri later traveled to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming before returning to her parents’ home in Florida on September 1st.

After Petito was reported missing by her family, her remains were found in Wyoming in mid-September. A forensic pathologist said she died of suffocation.
Laundri disappeared a few days after Petito was reported missing. He was found dead in a nature reserve in Florida on October 20 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

The FBI described Laundrie as a “person of interest” in Petito’s disappearance, but an arrest warrant only accused him of illegally using another person’s credit card and PIN and was not tied to her death.

Ratcliffe, who was assigned by the city to review the incident, said he could not speculate on whether various actions by officers in August could have prevented Petito’s death.

“Would Gabby be alive today if this case were handled differently? It is an impossible question to answer, even though it is the answer many people would like to know,” the report said. “No one knows, and no one will ever know the answer to that question.”

In a statement, the city did not address any potential discipline for the two officers, but said it “intends to implement the report’s recommendations” on new policies for the police department, including further training in domestic violence and legal training for officers.

“Based on the findings of the report, the city of Moab believes that our officers showed kindness, respect and empathy in their handling of this incident,” the city statement said.

In an interview with the investigation, Pratt said that although he accepts that he may have made a mistake in performing the stop, he is still haunted by Petito’s death.

“I do not care. I am crushed over it,” he said. “I did not care that day and I still worry. I do not think the public understands that we … I do not know if they know, we worry. I do not know if they know.”

Ratcliffe writes in his report that none of the officers at the time knew that his actions were wrong,

“They both thought at the time that they were making the right decision based on all the circumstances presented,” he says.

CNN has contacted both Pratt and Robbins to get an answer.

CNN’s Steve Almasy contributed to this report.


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