SALT LAKE CITY — Officers and dispatchers will be scrutinized in an investigation into Moab Police’s iteration between Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie several weeks before her death.
On August 12, a bystander called 911 to report a possible domestic dispute.
“We drove brand the gentleman was slapping the girl,” a caller said to dispatch on the recorded call.
While Moab officers made plans to separate the couple overnight, Utah law requires the officers to do more. In cases involving domestic violence, an arrest or citation is mandatory.
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“There are no exceptions to that and officers didn’t do either one. Technically, they weren’t in full compliance with the law but practically, their conduct appears to be pretty smart,” said former prosecutor Greg Skordas, who is not affiliated with the case.
Skordas tells FOX13 it appears the officers approached the call as if the couple suffered a mental health crisis.
Laundrie’s alleged physical violence was not brought up by either officer, according to the body cam video. Former deputy chief Chris Bertram argues critical information may not have been passed along from dispatch.
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“The fact that an independent witness is saying he is physically assaulting her is very important information when they are assessing what’s going on in the situation. This may be a mutual combat where they’re both assaulting each other and that comes into play with how you’re going to deal with that,” Bertram said.
The investigation into Moab Police will be done by an unnamed agency.