LOCAL NEWS

Review of the police handling of Gabby Petito incident finds ‘unintentional mistakes’

Jan 12, 2022, 6:49 PM | Updated: 7:01 pm
FILE - This police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Gabrielle "Gabby" Peti...
FILE - This police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van she was traveling in with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, near the entrance to Arches National Park on Aug. 12, 2021. Teton County Coroner Brent Blue is scheduled to announce the findings of Petito's autopsy at a news conference early Tuesday, Oct. 12. (Moab Police Department via AP)
(Moab Police Department via AP)

MOAB, Utah— An independent review of the Moab police incident with Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie found “unintentional mistakes” by police for not citing Petito for domestic violence.

A formal complaint was filed with Moab City Police over the Aug. 12, 2021 domestic violence incident involving Petito and Laundrie argued the situation was not handled properly under the state’s statutes.

According to the report, while several claims were unfounded, others were not. The 100 page report describes in detail each complaint, the corresponding statute, and how the two responding officers handled the situation accordingly.

Because of the discrepancies, the city of Moab has opted to make several adjustments to improve based on the reports’ suggestions. According to the statement, these recommendations include: additional training in domestic violence investigation, as well as additional training to ensure officers understand state laws and statutes; conducting an overall policy review; conducting a software review; and strengthening the review process for incident reports.

The statement adds that the investigative review of the incident never obtained a statement from the original 9-1-1 caller and recommends completing that to make the incident report complete. The city of Moab intends to implement all of the report’s recommendations.

The city of Moab expressed in statement, “Based on the report’s findings, the City of Moab believes our officers showed kindness, respect and empathy in their handling of this incident. As the Moab City Police Department continues its daily mission to serve our community, efforts are underway to provide additional resources and tools to assist the in addressing domestic violence incidents.”

Moab also announced they would be adding a trained domestic violence specialist to oversee incidents handled by officers. The police will also be implementing ongoing training and testing to ensure officers are up to date with procedures.

In a disclaimer included in the report it says, “There are many “what-if’s” that have presented itself as part of this investigation, the primary one being: 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. My job is to provide information into the details of this investigation and if it was handled appropriately.”

Petito was found dead on Sept. 19 after being reported missing on Sept. 11 by her family. She and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, had taken a cross country roadtrip together and were reported for a domestic violence incident on Aug. 11 in Moab, Utah. 

 

 

 

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Review of the police handling of Gabby Petito incident finds ‘unintentional mistakes’