New video shows Gabby Petito discussing cut face with Utah police
Gabby Petito, from Blue Point, told Utah Police that her then-fiancé Brian Laundrie, who is a “person of interest” in his homicide, grabbed her face and left him a cut to the cheek when the couple were arrested in mid-August, according to recently released police body camera footage.
“He likes to grab my face… he grabbed me like with his fingernail and I guess that’s why I definitely have a cut here because I can feel it,” Petito said. “When I touch it, it burns.”
The new body camera video shows a conversation between police and Petito – whose body was found last month in a Wyoming national forest – after police in Moab City, Utah, received a call to the 911 on August 12 from a witness who said he saw a man slap a woman before the couple fled in a white van. The video, which includes police interviews of Petito, 22, and Laundrie, 23, captured by the body cam of another officer and released last month, also contains new audio of an officer interviewing an officer. witness to the physical altercation between the couple.
The couple, who were traveling across the country in their van, were arrested near Arches National Park. When an officer told him that two witnesses saw Laundrie slap her, Petito, sitting in the back seat of a police car, replied, “Well, to be honest, I definitely hit him first. … I slapped him in the face first.… He kept telling me to shut up. “
Pressed to know if Laundrie hit her, Petito said “I guess so, but I hit him first” and started to cry.
Police no longer questioned Petito about his alleged injury, according to the video, and instead focused on Petito’s confession that she slapped Laundrie, who also had a scratch.
“From what she claims she is the full aggressor here,” the officer, whose name was not disclosed, said of Petito.
Laundrie told police when the van he was driving was first stopped: “I don’t mean to defend myself by saying anything here. But I pushed her away. She gets really mad. And when she does, she is rocking and she had her cell phone in her hand, so I was just trying to push her away. “
No charges have been laid, and Moab City Police said last month they were consulting with another Utah law enforcement agency to investigate the police response, which , according to the city, had been “both praised and criticized”.
“At this time, the city of Moab is not aware of any violation of police department policy during this incident,” the September 23 statement said. “However, the City will conduct a formal investigation and, based on the results, take any next action that may be appropriate.
A spokeswoman for the city of Moab did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Friday.
Richard Stafford, a lawyer for the Petito family, did not respond to a message regarding the new body camera video. Laundry lawyer Steven Bertolino said he had not seen the video.
The release of the new body camera footage comes two weeks after Laundrie, wanted by Utah authorities for credit card fraud, was reported missing by his parents during the search for Petito. Laundrie had returned home to Florida on September 1 alone in Petito’s van after the road trip and refused to speak to police after Petito’s family reported her missing.
His body was found on September 19 in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming and the FBI has named Laundrie a “person of interest” in his homicide. No cause of death has been revealed.
A man who witnessed the altercation in Utah told police he saw the couple “sort of bickering on the phone. I mean he was trying to pick up his phone,” said the witness as an officer interviewed him by cell phone, according to the body. camera video.
The witness said the woman was trying to get into the van and eventually crawled inside.
“I think I saw maybe a push or a push, but not like a full punch in the face or anything,” the witness said when asked if Laundrie hit Petito. The witness said he could not determine whether Laundrie pushed Petito aggressively or whether it was a “defensive maneuver”.
The officer called a supervisor from his cell phone to find out if charges would be laid and said Laundrie has a “little little scratch on her jaw”.
The officer added: “It was like a fight with a slap in the face and the injury came from a fingernail. I just don’t know if it’s worth it or not, or it’s going to be a problem if we don’t. not. “
At another point in the body camera video, the officer tells Laundrie that they must charge Petito unless he has another idea on how to resolve the situation.
“Can I go to jail?” Laundry asked.
The officer replied, “You can’t, because we don’t have a charge for you.”
Another officer standing outside the white van told Laundrie: “You haven’t done anything wrong.”