It’s been almost a year since the murder of Gabby Petito, and the case continues to be a source of frustration when it comes to the role of law enforcement.
Obviously there’s plenty to wonder about when it comes to the fact Brian Laundrie was able to slip past police surveillance in North Port, Florida despite being a person of interest in his fiancée’s disappearance. But even before that we saw an enormous failure on the part of cops on the other side of the country — a failure that many believe directly led to the circumstances of Gabby’s death.
As you may recall, back on August 12, 2021, police in Moab, Utah were alerted to a domestic dispute. An eyewitness claimed to have seen a young man striking a young woman. Police stopped Brian and Gabby, and — as we’ve all seen on the body cam footage — could see how distraught the poor girl was.
However, they ultimately let the couple go, leaving them to continue their road trip… which of course ended with Brian strangling Gabby and leaving her body in the Grand Teton National Park.
An independent investigation has already confirmed what most of us got from the start — that cops made “several unintentional mistakes” during the stop, including failure to take either into custody despite injuries and failure to get an official statement from the witness. Whether they could have prevented the murder? That we may never know for sure. But Gabby’s family intend to convince a jury of just that — earlier this month they filed a huge $50 million wrongful death suit against the Moab Police Department!
Related: Gabby’s Family Win Major First Legal Battle Against Laundries
Petito attorney Brian C. Stewart said the officers involved “failed to properly investigate the reported domestic assault, and thus failed to fully appreciate or respond to Gabby’s life-threatening situation.”
You’d think at the very least the cops involved would have been fired, right? Maybe demoted? Well, it turns out just the opposite. The Sun learned this week that Officer Eric Pratt actually got a promotion!
Pratt, who can be seen speaking with Gabby and Brian on that video, is now a detective, meaning more responsibility, bigger cases, and a much higher pay grade. Not only that, he’s going to be working directly with children as the school resource officer at Helen M. Knight Elementary School.
After the investigation put a lot of blame on how the cops handled things, the city’s official statement was firmly in defense of its officers, declaring that they “showed kindness, respect and empathy in their handling of this incident.” But the opinion of the people of Moab isn’t necessarily represented by that statement. The Sun asked multiple locals of the 5,000-population town what they thought, and it’s not backin’ the boys in blue.
62-year-old Barbara Lawley told the outlet she thought those officers “shouldn’t be rewarded”:
“They need more training if they don’t know the law.”
For 40-year-old Sarah McFarland this was an unpleasant surprise. She told the outlet:
“That’s ridiculous if you ask me. I didn’t know, as locals we know very little.”
And Danielle Hunt was incensed! She complained:
“I did hear that one of the officers got promoted. That’s honestly going in the wrong direction in my opinion. That’s the worst thing that [they] could have done, promote somebody that f**ked up, are you kidding me?”
Pratt — sorry, Detective Pratt — is named in the wrongful death suit alongside Officer Daniel Robbins, as well as then-Chief Bret Edge, who has since quit the Moab PD. Despite that ignominious position as a defendant in the case, he’s still on the job. In an even better job, apparently.
What do YOU think of Pratt’s promotion??
[Image via FOX13/YouTube.]