The Gabby Petito case continues to captivate the world. For many who follow the case, the story begins with the couple’s traffic stop in Moab, Utah.
The Moab PD released bodycam footage from one of the responding officers on September 16. That video showed what appeared to be an abusive relationship. In fact, John Walsh watched the video and it shook him to his core. The grizzled TV personality said that the video “terrified” him and that it clearly showed an abusive relationship.
At the very least, we know that the couple was in a physical altercation only moments before the traffic stop. However, there’s more to the story. Moab PD later released the second half of the bodycam footage two weeks later.
The second video gives important insight into the incident as well as how Moab PD handled it. For instance, we hear Gabby Petito explain that Laundrie did physically assault her before the stop.
Moab Police say that they did not delay the release of the footage. Instead, they say that the sheer number of press inquiries overwhelmed their small police department. The national coverage of the Gabby Petito case led hundreds of outlets to request the second video. However, some emails have surfaced regarding the bodycam footage, 2KUTV, a Salt Lake City-based CBS reports.
According to the report, former Grand County Attorney, Happy Morgan, attended Moab’s city council meeting. During that meeting, Morgan brought up the other bodycam footage showing the Gabby Petito incident. She criticized the police department for not immediately releasing the footage.
Email Exchange About the Gabby Petito-Brian Laundrie Police Interaction
The next day, Morgan contacted acting chief Braydon Palmer about the bodycam footage. 2KUTV obtained that email exchange.
In her initial email, Morgan told Palmer that the sooner they came forward about the delay of the second video, the better. She added that many news agencies had used Utah’s Government Records Access Management Act to request the video.
Morgan went on to say that the department needed to either say that the footage didn’t exist and apologize, or release it. She also insinuated that there was a reason behind why Moab police did not immediately release the footage of the incident with Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie.
Palmer responded to Morgan’s email saying that he planned to release the bodycam footage the following day. He added “This is a high priority for me and agree with your comments on that matter. This process should have occurred more timely.”
Palmer did, indeed, release the footage the following day. However, he publicly stated that the delay was the result of an overwhelming wave of GRAMA requests.
Morgan stated that she had hoped Palmer would share his sentiments about the delay with the public and that Palmer’s public explanation did not seem consistent with their exchange or the truth. Furthermore, she believes the footage would remain unreleased if not for the pressure she applied to the Moab PD.