I was perusing the Interwebs yesterday and a story popped up in my Google feed from People Magazine. Gabby Petito’s family is suing the Moab Police Force in a “wrongful death” suit to the tune of $50 million in civil court. They allege that the police officers who responded to a report of a “domestic dispute” failed her and to follow procedures to keep her safe, resulting in the escalating harm that lead to her later death. Moab police submitted their paperwork with their finds as a “mental health crisis,” but cite a few “unintentional mistakes” that they overlooked. What do you, the reader, think? Does Gabby’s family have good cause for the lawsuit? While it cannot bring Gabby back, perhaps this can be the precedent to turn the tide for better and more thorough law enforcement DV training??
Personally, as a survivor and former victim of domestic abuse, officers are not trained to mediate as they should. They respond and do nothing, many times, OR take both parties to jail, which is traumatic for the victim that could lead to more mental harm on top of the abuse. In my case, my abuser fled the scene, so he was caught and taken to jail to be questioned later. The police officers on my city’s force had a lead officer, who accompanied me to the hospital to make it as gentle a transaction as possible. Of course, a woman had to die for our officers to get more and better training. But they did a fabulous job in my case.
Police officers need DV training, but also need more training on trauma bonding and safety issues that DV victims face. So many officers get apathetic with domestic calls, due to officers knowing that the victim may end up going back. They need to know more about the WHY! Also, I do believe that police officers need more training in the different types of sexual orientations and domestic partnerships. LGBTQ+ sensitivity training would help override the sexual roles that are stuck in law enforcement’s brains. There is a victim and a perpetrator at every scene, assumptions cannot just be made nor can they discriminate against their own possible biases about non-heterosexual lifestyles!
In watching ALL of the bodycam footage of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie, it’s glaringly apparent the coercive and narcissistic abuse unfolding. Gabby is crying and penitent, and Brian is laughing and talkative. If the Moab police force better understood the dynamics of intimate partner violence, they would have seen the signs too. I think Gabby’s family has more than enough evidence of probable cause. It’s a clear neglect situation. Their feet would be held to the fire, so to speak, if those were a child and an adult, right?
Food for thought…