A SHOCKING new report has revealed the crucial mistakes made by cops who stopped Gabby Petitio and Brian Laundrie for a domestic violence call only two weeks before her murder.
Gabby Petito sobs in the Moab police body cam footage[/caption]
In contrast, Brian Laundrie joked with officers[/caption]
The report, released on Wednesday night after a months-long investigation, concluded that there was cause to arrest Gabby over her dispute with Brian and that it was a violation of state code she was not cited.
It also highlighted inconsistencies and flaws with both the actions of the officers on the scene, their follow-up on the case, and the reports later filed.
The investigation advised that both officers involved be placed on probation after they failed to follow up on Gabby’s injuries and have still not contacted the original 911 caller.
It was also found that the officers failed to issue the right domestic violence guidance to the couple despite them claiming to have noticed “red flags” that Brian was a “weird not healthy dude.”
The report came after a nationwide search for missing Gabby resulted in the discovery of her body in a Wyoming National Park on September 19.
Gabby was killed by manual strangulation, the medical examiner said, only days after she was seen arguing with Brian in a restaurant.
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Brian had returned home to Florida without Gabby on September 1 and would reveal no information to her family about her whereabouts.
He later went missing and his body was found in a Florida park in October.
Brian died by suicide by a gunshot to the head.
The 23-year-old has not been named by the FBI as a suspect in Gabby’s death but a warrant was issued for his arrest for using her bank card to spend $1,000 on his way back to Florida in the days after it is believed she was killed.
Moab police’s involvement with Gabby and Brian’s case had been the subject of much controversy after body cam footage was released showing a sobbing Gabby tell how Brian had grabbed her face.
The pair were separated for the night but a complaint was filed claiming that the cops failed to take more action to protect the couple.
The report found that several crucial but “unintentional” mistakes were made as it advised further training for the department.
It added that it believed the officers “showed kindness, respect, and empathy in their handling of this incident.”
NO ARREST MADE
Wednesday’s report found that there was “probable cause” for Gabby’s arrest after the investigator spoke to both officers, their supervisor, read the reports, and watched body cam footage.
Both Gabby, Brian, and another witness said that she had been physical with him on the main street in Moab and that Brian had small injuries as a result.
It found that Officer Eric Pratt and Officer Daniel Robbins misinterpreted the wording around assault when they decided not to cite Gabby and bring her into custody when Brian did not want to press charges.
“I would say the officers made a mistake by not reading the entire assault statute as well as misinterpreting the language in the statute,” the investigator said.
“I believe the officers responded to a domestic violence call and had probable cause an act of domestic violence had been committed.
“This should have meant an arrest was made, either by citation or custody.”
In an interview for the report, Officer Pratt admitted that he had failed to read the complete statute before a decision was made and that it could have changed his actions.
Yet he defended his decision not to arrest the young blogger, claiming that it would have given Brian more power over her and that he believes he would have killed her anyway.
“I will die on this hill if it was wrong for me to not arrest her, I still wouldn’t have arrested her,” he said.
“Brian was as much responsible, or more, for what happened that day. She is at a disadvantage in every way: emotionally, mentally, physically, and yes she slapped him he probably deserved every slap he got.
“If she should have gone to jail and that’s what should have happened, kick me out of the police department.”
The officers involved also failed to adequately follow up with the 911 caller and to this day have not spoken again to the man who first reported seeing Brian hitting Gabby, the report states.
It says that it was preferable a decision was made after speaking to this witness, as he was the only person to report Brian hitting Gabby first and not vice versa, as the couple themselves and the second witness said.
The report notes how Officer Robbins, who was still in training and only in the field for just over two months at the time of the call, had mixed up the witnesses to the altercation between Brian and Gabby.
When Officer Pratt had arrived at the scene by the Moonflower store in Moab, he had failed to find the 911 caller but was approached by another person asking if he was there in reference to the “domestic.”
Robbins was asked to follow up with this person but falsely believed them to be the 911 caller.
“It’s impossible to state or know whether or not anything would have changed the outcome of this investigation through speaking with [the caller],” the report states.
“There’s not an excuse for it, I can explain it, I can’t excuse it,” Officer Pratt told the investigator.
“I can’t imagine what he could have said, especially if it was what he told dispatch, that could have changed the decision that was made.”
The report states that there was also no follow-up carried out for surveillance footage from the Moonflower store in Moab.
LAUNDRIE THE ‘PREDOMINANT AGGRESSOR’
The report found that there was evidence in the bodycam footage that Brian was the “predominant aggressor” in the relationship and that cops did not properly question Gabby’s injures.
It also found that they did not follow up on Gabby’s statement that Brian had grabbed her face.
No pictures were taken of the scratch on her face or of the bruise on the arm that Pratt claimed looked like it had been there for a few days.
She was not offered any medical attention while Brian was and refused it.
“Gabby mentioned pain she was having from her injury,” the report states.
“Brian was asked if he needed medical attention and Brian declined the offer. The policy only states that this applies to the victim.
“At the time Gabby disclosed her injury, they had not concluded who the predominant aggressor was and she was not asked if she needed medical attention.
“There were also no follow-up questions asked to Brian regarding the injury Gabby sustained.”
Officer Pratt told the investigator that he thought it had been taken care of by the other officer when questioned about the failure to follow up on Brian grabbing Gabby’s face.
“I shouldn’t make these assumptions but I assumed that he addressed it and it was corroborated and may have, should have, talked to Brian more about that,” he said.
The report stated, however, that while there was some evidence of abuse from Brian, there is no action the cops could have taken.
“There are a couple of things that could point to Brian being the predominant physical aggressor, that is, if Gabby hadn’t made the statements she did,” the report continues.
“The lack of emotion and fear from Brian may point towards someone who is the predominant aggressor but as previously mentioned, Gabby’s statements to law enforcement make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to substantiate a charge against Brian as it relates to this incident.”
Officier Robbins, a rookie on the force, was called out in particular for the inaccurate statement in his reports from the incident.
“There are many details not documented in his report as well as details documented that appear to be speculation or just flat out inaccurate,” it said.
“I told Officer Robbins that BRIAN said he was worried that Gabby was going to leave HIM in Moab but not the other way around. Officer Robbins replied, ‘I might have mixed those up.’
“I told Officer Robbins that the inconsistency is with Brian’s story, not Gabby’s. Officer Robbins did not have a response.”
The officer admitted that he was still training at the time and “not very good at writing reports so I’m probably guilty of possibly putting speculation in there.”
However, Officer Pratt’s report also included inaccuracies.
“Officer Pratt additionally documents in his report that Brian grabbed Gabby’s face and pushed her back,” the report reads.
“After Officer Pratt documents both incidents (911 caller stating male was assaulting female and Brian grabbing Gabby’s face and pushed her), it’s then documented in his report, ‘No one reported that the male struck the female.’
“Neither of the officers’ reports mentioned Gabby had sustained an injury, there were few details about Brian’s injuries and the body cam shows no evidence Brian was asked about the scratch on Gabby’s cheek.
“There are also numerous conclusions drawn or documented by Officer Robbins that don’t actually appear to be accurate,” it states.
‘Both written reports are missing significant details as it relates to the who, what, when, where, and how as it relates to this incident.”
Given the errors with the reports, the investigator said that it was a mistake not to have the body cam turned on when speaking to the witness as other details may have been missed.
The report also called out the failure of the officers to adequately request background information on both Gabby and Brian and for not taking pictures of their driving licenses.
When a background check was requested, Gabby’s last name was misspelled as Petico.
“Because of the misspelled name, if there had been a protective order under her name, there’s a chance they wouldn’t have found it,” the report states.
It also questioned why there was no further digging into any previous domestic incidents between the couple.
“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,” it states.
“Oftentimes in cases of domestic violence, the long-term victim gets to a point emotionally where they defend themselves or act out in such a way where law enforcement is summoned.
“It’s very likely Gabby was a long-term victim of domestic violence, whether that be physically, mentally, and/or emotionally.”
Officer Pratt told the investigator that “if I missed a big red flag that he was a murderer, then yes I missed it.
“If I would have known he was going to murder her, I would have taken vacation to follow them, because I care about people, to the point where he was going to murder her…, and I would have intervened and citizens arrested him in Wyoming!” he added.
“I would have taken my own time; I would have missed my family to go do that.
“I’m desperately f**ked over that she got killed. I really am. I would have done anything to stop it if I would have known that was coming.
“I accept responsibility for it but I don’t want anyone to think that I did not care.”
PHOTOS OF INJURIES ‘LOST’
The report also questioned what happened to the pictures of Brian’s injuries which were not filed with the report and why pictures were not taken of Gabby’s scratch.
The photos have now reportedly disappeared and cannot be found.
“I asked Officer Robbins why there were no photographs taken of Gabby’s injuries,” it stated.
“Officer Robbins stated that Officer Pratt spent the most time with Gabby and he made an assumption that Officer Pratt would have taken those photos.
“I asked Officer Robbins why the photographs weren’t uploaded to the report. Officer Robbins said, ‘that one to this day I still don’t know.’
“I could have sworn I did,” he answered when questioned about why they weren’t uploaded to the system.
“I’m generally good about uploading pictures that I take and for whatever reason I missed.
“They’re not on my phone. I looked for them and looked for them and looked for them,” he added.
“I checked my personal cell phone too. I don’t have them on there. I don’t delete pictures on my cell phone.”
NO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FOLLOW
The officers were accused of failing to follow up with domestic violence resources in the report.
“It was the stress of that situation, the stress of everything else that was going on, it wasn’t until that I got off work that I went (put his palm up to his face, slapping),” Officer Robbins said.
“I definitely learned a lot since that day. I’m not going to lie to you.
“I still want to learn from the decisions of that day,” he continued.
“What was best for the situation, sometimes it’s handcuffs, sometimes it’s having an ear for them to listen, you know to give them to listen, and sometimes it’s no action at all depending on the situation obviously.
“I thought that day I was doing the next right thing for that situation.”
Officer Pratt also defended their actions and claimed that he knew there was something unhealthy in the relationship but there was nothing they could do.
“What I saw with Gabby and Brian was another unhealthy relationship. Now usually that doesn’t end in a murder,” he said.
“So, if someone out there says you should have seen he was going to kill her, great, tell them to come to make $25/hour to do this for me.”
“He didn’t get away with anything for being cute,” the officer added of Brian.
“We saw his stupid bulls**t. He got away with what he got away with on August 12 here because I couldn’t charge him with a straight face.
“It wasn’t like I was hell-bent on not charging Brian. I would have loved to. I saw him as a problem. I really did but just because I don’t call him out and amp him up, that’s not my job.
“If I got the impression that the separation wasn’t going to work like from the get-go that this is bulls**t, they are not going to separate, I would have arrested Gabby, for sure. They needed to be separated. They had to,” Officer Pratt continued.
“He just didn’t seem like a physical…he didn’t seem physical. He just, he didn’t. And I clearly missed that huge red flag.”
The investigation into Gabby’s death is still being continued by the FBI.
No suspects have been named in her death.
Brian and Gabby had been traveling across the country together[/caption]