Why is Gabby Petito’s family suing police in Moab, Utah?
The family of Gaby Petito is suing the Moab Police Department for what they see as failures to take adequate measures to protect their daughter.
The family of Gabby Petito, the young woman murdered while on a road trip in the summer of 2021, has sued the Moby City Police Department for failing to protect their daughter. The family believes Gabby showed traditional signs of domestic abuse from her fiancé Brian Laundrie, that officers should have seen and responded to.
Petito and Laundrie were stopped by officers from Moab on 12 August 2021.
The stop occurred after dispatch received a call describing a “domestic dispute” where a caller said he saw a man slap a woman, and when she began to run, “he proceeded to hit her.” The caller snapped a picture of their license plate and was able to pass along the “make, model, and other characteristics of the van” they were driving in. The van was pulled over after Officer Robbins who “observed the van cross over the double yellow line and crosses back over and hits the curb on the passenger side.” Robins believed that the driver could have been under the influence of alcohol and stopped the vehicle, subsequently separating Laundrie and Petito so that they could be interviewed separately.
Police would pull the couple over and interview them separately, but in the end, the couple was able to continue their trip uninterrupted.
The couple continued their road trip, and just a few weeks later, in September, Petito would be reported missing, and later her body would be found in Wyoming. When her body was discovered, officials estimated that she had been dead for at least three weeks.
The following month, October, Brian Laundrie was found in Carlton Reserve in Florida with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Laundrie was the only person of interest in the murder case, and after his death, investigators obtained writings where he admitted to murdering Gabby.
Laundrie quickly became a suspect, and since an investigation was opened, evidence that he killed Petito has been obtained by law enforcement.
Officer failures and the Petito lawsuit
An investigation was opened into the officers’ actions concerning their interactions with the couple and found that “the officers who responded to the incident made several unintentional mistakes that stemmed from the fact that officers failed to cite Ms. Petito for domestic violence.”
Based on the documented failures by Utah police, the Petito family has filed the necessary paperwork to prepare their lawsuit against the Moab City Police Department. The family has argued that the officers who responded should have seen that Gabby Petito was a victim of domestic abuse and taken greater measures to provide “immediate protection.” The legal documentation also argues that through the training that the officers had received, they should have known how to recognize signs of domestic abuse and respond accordingly.
The family will seek $50 million dollars in damages for neglience and wrongful actions taken by the officers in the department.
Whether or when the case will be filled or be settlted in or out of a courtroom has yet to be seen.