The family of Gabby Petito, who was murdered by her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, in August 2021 have filed a lawsuit against the Utah police on the grounds of negligence. The family are seeking $50 million in damages.
The lawsuit filed by the attorneys representing the Petito family have named Moab Police Department; three of its officers: “Palmer,” “Pratt” and Daniel Robbins; and 10 other unnamed officers as defendants. The lawsuit accuses the defendants of “negligent failure” in relation to an alleged assault by Laundrie on Petito, CBS News reports.
James McConkie, who is one of the attorneys representing the Petito family, said that Gabby Petito would still be alive today had officers been properly trained in dealing with domestic abuse cases.
“Moab City Police Department has been plagued by high turnover, lack of leadership and dangerous mismanagement for years,” McConkie said, adding that the police department “neglected its duty to provide the training and resources its officers need to do their job,” dubbing it an “institutional failure.”
An investigation into the handling of the domestic abuse call involving Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito showed that “unintentional mistakes” had been made. “There were mistakes made in how this case was handled. If this case was handled flawlessly, would it have changed anything? Nobody knows,” the review stated.
The review went onto say that “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.”
During the 911 call, a citizen informed the Grand County Sheriff’s Office that he noticed a man slap a woman while walking through the town and then struck her again before the pair got into a van and drove off.
“We drove by and the gentleman was slapping the girl,” he said. “They ran up and down the sidewalk, he proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car, and they drove off.”
Petito told the police that her and Laundrie were squabbling over “some personal issues” and she also cited her OCD, which may have escalated things, according to the report. “Some days, I have really bad OCD, and I was just cleaning and straightening up and I was apologizing to him saying that I’m so mean because sometimes I have OCD and get frustrated,” she reportedly said.
Laundrie admitted that he and Petito got into a physical altercation that began when he climbed into the van with dirty feet. Officers decided that Petito was the aggressor in this case. Laundrie declined to press any charges.
“I’m not going to pursue anything because she is my fiancée and I love her. It was just a squabble. Sorry it had to get so public,” Laundrie reportedly said at the time.
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
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