Utah cops to refund $3K charged for Petito-Laundrie videos

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Utah cops to refund $3K charged for Petito-Laundrie videos

The Utah police department that released bodycam footage documenting their stop of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie will reportedly refund $3,000 in fees it collected from news outlets because the charges violated state law.

The videos showed Moab cops talking to the couple on Aug. 12, after a 911 caller told cops he saw a man slapping a woman outside an organic grocery store, weeks before their cross country van trip came to a tragic end.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that the fees for the footage amounted to about three times what the department had expected to collect this fiscal year in records fee revenue, citing a city budget document.

The first video the department released showed Petito, 22, crying and saying that the couple had been having “little arguments” that day. A second released days later showed Petito telling cops Laundrie had assaulted her.

The Moab Police Department will refund the $3,000 it charged news outlets for body camera footage of Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito.
The Moab Police Department will refund the $3,000 it charged news outlets for body camera footage of Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito.
The Moab Police Department via AP, File

Petito was reported missing a month later, on Sept. 11, by her family on Long Island after they hadn’t heard from her for weeks, sparking a widespread search for the travel vlogger.

Her body was found eight days later in remote section of a Wyoming national forest near Grand Teton National Park. An autopsy found she was strangled.

Laundrie getting interviewed by Moab police officers after getting pulled over.
Laundrie getting interviewed by Moab police officers after getting pulled over.
Photo by HANDOUT/Moab City Police Department/AFP via Getty Images

Laundrie, 23, who drove home alone to North Point, Fla., then vanished, sparking a month-long manhunt, was found dead Oct. 20 in a swampy nature preserve near his family’s home. An autopsy was unable to determine the cause of death.

State law allows agencies to charge only “actual costs of providing a record,” the outlet reported.

Gabby Petito seen inside of their van after the couple got stopped by police.
Gabby Petito seen inside of their van after the couple got stopped by police.
Photo by HANDOUT/Moab City Police Department/AFP via Getty Images
The department's charges for the footage reportedly violated Utah state law.
The department’s charges for the footage reportedly violated Utah state law.
Photo by HANDOUT/Moab City Police Department/AFP via Getty Images

“Even if one person were charged a fee,” Moab city spokesperson Lisa Church told the Tribune, “once that document is created, everybody else should not have been charged.”

The department has also hired an outside agency to probe the way the cops responded to the Aug. 12 stop.

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