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Utah cop Eric Pratt answered Gabby Petito Brian Laundrie’s call on domestic violence now a detective


One of two Moab, Utah police officers who responded to the August 2021 domestic violence call involving Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie, which sparked an independent investigation and $50 million lawsuit against the department, is now a detective.

Eric Pratt was the senior officer on the scene after police arrested Laundrie on Aug. 12, 2021, according to an outside report into Moab’s handling of the domestic violence call.

The department posted a photo on its Facebook page last week showing Pratt at an event with “Detective E. Pratt” embroidered on his shirt. In a separate message, Helen M. Knight Elementary School also thanked city and county officials for appointing Pratt as the school resource officer.

About two weeks before Laundrie killed and abandoned Petito in the Wyoming desert, Moab police arrested him outside Arches National Park in response to reports that a man was seen train to slap and beat a woman in front of a grocery store in the crossroads city. .

Moab police have released body camera videos of two officers detailing the encounter, which begins with Laundrie slamming Petito’s Ford Transit van into a sidewalk outside the park.

Pratt was the senior officer on the scene along with Petito and Laundrie.
Elementary HMK/Facebook

In body camera footage of Pratt, obtained by Fox News Digital last year, he is heard asking fellow responding officer Daniel Robbins, “How far do you want to go with this?”

“You know why the domestic assault code is there. He’s there to protect people,” Pratt continues. “The reason they don’t give us discretion on these things is because too often women at risk want to go back to their abuser, they just wanted him to stop, they don’t want to have to be separated. They don’t want him to be charged, they don’t want him to go to jail – and then they end up getting worse and worse treatment and end up getting killed.

Despite a Utah law that requires a person to be arrested or cited during a nationwide response, no such action has been taken. Officers called the incident a “mental break” and not domestic abuse – and separated the couple for the night.

Shortly after the body camera video emerged, the City of Moab said in a statement that its police department “has clear standards for officer conduct during a potential domestic dispute and our officers are trained to follow these standards and this protocol”.

“At this time, the City of Moab is not aware of any violations of Police Department policy during this incident,” a spokesperson said at the time.

Price City Police Capt. Brandon Ratcliffe led an external investigation into the Moab Police Department’s handling of the call, found Pratt and Officer Daniel Robbins made ‘unintentional errors’ – and issued recommendations on how the department should move forward.

After Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, reported him missing on September 11, 2021, Fox News Digital was the first outlet to discover Moab’s call for domestic violence, in which a witness told police that he had seen Laundrie hit and slap Petito and attempt to drive away without her.

Laundrie later committed suicide in the woods after confessing to Petito's murder in his diary.
Petito was murdered by Laundrie during their trip across the country.
Moab City Police Department/AFP

Laundrie told police the opposite, saying he took the keys because he feared Petito would leave and leave him stranded. He claimed he didn’t have a phone, then 40 minutes later on the video he took one out of his pocket in front of the police. They didn’t ask him about the inconsistency.

Despite multiple requests from Fox News Digital, the department has provided no evidence that any of Ratcliffe’s recommendations were followed.

His proposed corrective actions included placing Pratt and Robbins on probation, sending them both for more training and other reforms for the department as a whole.

A Moab spokesperson said the city could not comment on the incident due to ongoing litigation by Petito’s parents, who filed a Notice of Claim earlier this month seeking $50 million. dollars in damages and alleging that Moab police negligence resulted in the young woman’s death.

“We believe these officers were negligent and their negligence contributed to Gabby’s death,” said Bryan Stewart, a Salt Lake City-based attorney representing the Petito and Schmidt families. “They didn’t understand the law and didn’t apply the law properly in Gabby’s situation.”

The city also delayed responding to detailed requests for public records, including for details on Pratt and Robbins’ rank, training and disciplinary action, among other details.

Moab Police, the former chief and assist chief, and Pratt and Robbins are named in the Petito-Schmidt family’s notice of claim filed earlier this month in a Utah court.

Laundrie confessed to the murder in a handwritten note found near his remains in Florida, where the FBI says he shot himself in the head.

New York Post

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