Gabby Petito’s family is seeking revenge and is now going after the Utah Police.
Nichole Schmidt and Joseph Petito filed a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against Utah police on Monday, August 8.
You may recall that Brian Laundrie and Gabby were stopped by police in Moab, Utah after a citizen called in a domestic violence dispute.
Gabby Petito’s Family Sues Utah Police Department
A passerby claimed to see a male (Laundrie) hitting a female (Gabby). A traffic stop was made on August 12, 2021.
Police body camera footage shows a tearful and distraught Gabby in the back of a squad car while Laundrie joked around with cops by their conversion van.
Gabby’s family is accusing the department of failing to properly investigate her domestic violence case and protect her. Her family is seeking multi-millions in damages.
The Petito-Schmidt families filed the lawsuit against Moab City Police Department, its then-Chief Bret Edge, ex–Assistant Chief Braydon Palmer, and Officers Eric Pratt and Daniel Robbins, according to NBC News.
Gabby’s Family Is Suing For Wrongful Death
This month marks the one-year anniversary of the 22-year-old’s death at the hands of Laundrie.
While Gabby was in the back of the cop car, she explained that she was the first to hit Laundrie and he retaliated by grabbing her face.
The call resulted in no arrests despite Utah state law mandating an arrest or citation in domestic violence incidents.
The Traffic Stop In Question!
Neither Gabby nor Laundrie wanted to press charges, but they were required to spend the night apart after the altercation.
Weeks following the traffic stop, Gabby’s body was discovered in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.
Her mother reported her missing on September 11, 2021. On September 19, human remains were discovered in the national park and were later confirmed to be Gabby’s.
A coroner determined she had been dead for at least three weeks and her death was ruled a homicide by “manual strangulation.”
Gabby’s fiancé, Laundrie, was the only person of interest in the case. He ultimately took his own life in September 2021 after leading law enforcement on a weeks-long manhunt.
He confessed to killing his significant other in a lengthy journal entry. Laundrie said it was the “merciful” thing to do.
The Blast previously reported that Utah police made several mistakes in handling the traffic stop.
They misclassified it as more of a mental/emotional health “break” rather than domestic violence.
Fox News Digital first reported the domestic violence call which included allegations that Laundrie slapped and hit Gabby; however, both denied versions of the events to responding officers.
Laundrie had a cut on his cheek and Gabby had marks on her face.
According to a responding officer’s report of that day, “The driver of the van, a male, had some sort of argument with the female, Gabbie.”
The report continued, “The male tried to create distance by telling Gabbie to go take a walk to calm down, she didn’t want to be separated from the male, and began slapping him. He grabbed her face and pushed her back as she pressed upon him and the van, he tried to lock her out and succeeded except for his driver’s door, she opened that and forced her way over him and into the vehicle before it drove off.”
In addition, a responding officer wrote that he believes “it was reported the male had been observed to have assaulted the female,” but instead wrote, “no one reported that the male struck the female.”
Gabby was visibly upset in the video.
Gabby Petito Was Visibly Distraught During Utah Traffic Stop
Now, an independent investigation into the August 12 incident found “unintentional mistakes.”
The outside investigation also offered a number of recommendations on how the Moab police department should move forward.
The investigation includes interviews with both officers involved and the city’s acting chief of police and looked into the incident reports, body cam videos, and other evidence.