Moab, UT – Newly-released bodycam video showed Gabby Petito telling Moab police about how Brian Laundrie grabbed her face and cut her cheek during an argument on Aug. 12, but she also insisted she “definitely hit him first.”
The previously-unseen footage came from the bodycam of a second officer at the scene of the domestic disturbance call involving the couple that day, FOX News reported.
In addition to containing more details from Petito’s account of what occurred, the video also captured a conversation between an officer and the person who called 911 to report having seen a man “slapping” a woman.
According to a Moab City Police Department (MCPD) report, a concerned witness called 911 at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 12 to report a “possible domestic violence” incident near Moonflower Community Cooperative, FOX News previously reported.
The witness said he saw a man and a woman arguing in the street about a phone.
According to a 911 recording reviewed by the news outlet, the caller reported having witnessed the alleged assault, FOX News reported.
“The gentleman was slapping the girl,” the caller said in the recording.
“He was slapping her?” the dispatcher asked.
“Yes, and then we stopped,” the caller said. “They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off.”
Moab police pulled the couple over and spoke with them about the incident.
Petito, who was sitting in the passenger seat, was “crying uncontrollably” when they first made contact with her, the officer noted in the report.
Police separated the couple and spoke with them individually.
“He got really frustrated with me, and he locked me out of the car and told me to go take a breather, but I didn’t want to take a breather,” Petito said in the newly-released bodycam footage. “And I wanted to get going. We’re out of water.”
The Moab officer told Petito he could see marks on her face, which she tried to dismiss as an accident, News Nation reported.
“There’s two people that came to us and told us that they saw him hit you,” the officer told her. “There’s two people saying that they saw him punch you.”
Petito told the officer she was the one who started the physical altercation with Laundrie, News Nation reported.
“Well, to be honest, I definitely hit him first,” Petito admitted.
She said she slapped her then-fiancé in the face “a couple” of times before he grabbed her face, cutting her cheek with his nail.
“He like grabbed me with his nail, and I guess that’s why it looks, I definitely have a cut right here. I can feel it. When I touch it, it burns,” Petito said, according to FOX News. “He didn’t like, hit me in the face. He didn’t like, punch me in the face or anything.”
When police called the witness from the scene, he clarified that he did not see Laundrie hit Petito.
“I just noticed this couple was sort of arguing a bit,” the witness told the officer during the phone call, according to News Nation. “It seemed like they were sort of arguing over a phone. It seemed like he was trying to grab her phone.”
At one point during the call, the officer specifically asked the witness if he saw the man striking the woman, FOX News reported.
“I wouldn’t say that,” the witness replied. “I think I saw maybe a push or a shove but not a full-on punch to the face or anything.”
“You did see her slapping him though it sounds like,” the officer clarified.
“Yes,” the witness confirmed.
Petito told police she hit Laundrie because she didn’t like him telling her to calm down, News Nation reported.
The officers explained to her that they are required under Utah law to issue a citation or make an arrest whenever they have probable cause to believe that an act of domestic violence has been committed.
Petito broke down in tears when the officers told her she would have to be separated from Laundrie and begged them to issue a citation instead, the video showed.
“I don’t want to be separated. Please. We’re a team, please,” she said. “It’s going to give me so much anxiety. Can we just have a driving ticket?”
One of the officers ended up calling a supervisor, then asked Petito if she intended to “cause him physical pain or physical impairments,” the video showed.
“No. Never,” Petito insisted.
The officer concluded her actions did not meet the criteria for domestic assault and police opted to separate the couple for the night so things could cool off, News Nation reported.
In an earlier bodycam video, Laundrie told officers he tried to lock Petito out of the van after she went “into a manic state” after they argued.
“The driver of the van, a male, had some sort of argument with the female, Gabbie,” one of the officers who responded to the scene noted in his report, according to FOX News.
“The male tried to create distance by telling Gabbie to go take a walk to calm down, she didn’t want to be separated from the male, and began slapping him,” the officer wrote. “He grabbed her face and pushed her back as she pressed upon him and the van, he tried to lock her out and succeeded except for his driver’s door, she opened that and forced her way over him and into the vehicle before it drove off.”
“I have really bad OCD,” Petito said in the bodycam video. “I was apologizing to him saying ‘I’m sorry I’m so mean.’”
“We’ve been fighting all morning,” she said. “He wouldn’t let me in the car before…he told me I needed to calm down.”
One of the officers noted in his report that the argument could be “more accurately categorized as a mental/emotional health ‘break’ than a domestic assault,” according to the news outlet.
“Both the male and the female reported they are in love and engaged to be married and desperately didn’t wish to see anyone charged with a crime,” the report read.
Laundrie, 23, has been named as a person of interest in the death of Petito, his 22-year-old fiancé.
The couple set off in Petito’s converted camper van in early July to tour U.S. national parks.
Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, said she last spoke with her daughter on Aug. 25.
Laundrie returned to his family’s North Port, Florida home in Petito’s van on Sept. 1, but she was not with him.
He refused to speak with police or Petito’s family about where he last saw her before he supposedly vanished while hiking in a Florida nature reserve on Sept. 14.
Petito’s body was discovered in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming on Sept. 19.
Her death has been ruled a homicide, but her exact cause of death has not been released.
Police named Laundrie as a person of interest in Petito’s homicide, but investigators have stopped short of labeling him as a suspect.
The U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a federal warrant for Laundrie’s arrest on Sept. 22 for use of unauthorized devices, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Denver office announced in a press release.
He has been accused of using a Capital One bank card and someone else’s personal identification number to make unauthorized charges or withdrawals exceeding $1,000, according to the Associated Press.
According to the indictment, the unauthorized use of the card occurred from approximately Aug. 30 until Sept. 1.
The name of the card owner was not listed in the indictment, the Associated Press reported.
Multiple law enforcement agencies have been searching for Laundrie in the swampy 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve for the past two weeks.
Police have also begun searching the area around a campground where Laundrie and his parents stayed from Sept. 6 until Sept. 8, FOX News reported.
The City of Moab has launched a formal investigation into how the MCPD handled the domestic disturbance between Petito and Laundrie.
You can see the newly-release video below: