City of Moab to investigate police response in Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie incident
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MOAB, Utah — Authorities in Moab, Utah announced Thursday that they will conduct a formal investigation regarding the incident that happened on Aug. 12, involving police officers, Gabby Petito, and Brian Laundrie.
“The Moab City Police Department has clear standards for officer conduct during a possible domestic dispute and our officers are trained to follow those standards and protocol,” the city said in a statement. “At this time, the City of Moab is unaware of any breach of Police Department policy during this incident. However, the City will conduct a formal investigation and, based on the results, will take any next steps that may be appropriate.”
Late this summer, Petito went on a cross-country road trip from New York with Laundrie, her fiancé. They traveled to several national parks in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming in a white van and documented the trip. Laundrie came back home in the white van without her on Sep. 1 and hired a lawyer. Currently, the FBI is looking for him and he is no longer considered a person of interest. There is now a warrant out for his arrest.
Petito’s body was found in Wyoming at a camping area on Sep. 19. The FBI released earlier this week that her death is being ruled as a homicide, according to the autopsy results.
The incident Moab police responded to happened between Petito and Laundrie on Aug. 12. The body camera footage that lasted over an hour shows police stopping the couple in their white van.
“The details outline a disorderly conduct call,” police said in a report. “Officers were dispatched to a domestic problem that had taken place near Moonflower Co-Op.”
“He really stresses me out,” Petito said to officers in bodycam footage.
Previously released documents and video show the couple was arguing and it had become physical.
A recently released 911 call recorded before the police encounter also indicated there was some domestic abuse occurring.
“We drove by, and a gentleman was slapping the girl,” a caller reported to 911 dispatchers.
However, the 911 call was not mentioned by police during the traffic stop in the body camera footage.
Police were considering charging Petito after scratches were found on Laundrie’s face. In the end, no charges were filed and the couple was separated for the night.
“During the past week, our police officers have been both praised and criticized for their response and their resolution of the incident involving Ms. Petito and Mr. Laundrie. We understand that individuals can view the same situation in very different ways, and we recognize how the death of Ms. Petito more than two weeks later in Wyoming might lead to speculation, in hindsight, about actions taken during the incident in Moab,” the city of Moab continued to say in a statement.
Moab City Police Chief Bret Edge said an outside party filed a request with the Moab City Police Department asking for a formal investigation into the Aug. 12 incident.
“Should the investigation identify areas for improvement we will take that information to heart, learn from it, and make changes if needed to ensure we are providing the best response and service to our community,” said Edge.