Pinnellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri is adamantly defending his department over viral dashcam footage that appears to show officers merely standing by as three teenage girls drown.
Gualtieri says the footage that went viral on Friday is an edited version of the original and "misleading." The department released a different dashcam video from another police vehicle on Friday to debunk claims that officers did not do enough to rescue the girls. The video depicts officers walking by with clothes in hand. Gualtieri says this footage proves the officers went into the water to rescue the girls.
Despite the supposed rescue attempt, deputies say they abandoned their efforts due to safety concerns.
"Due to the unknown depth, thick vegetation and officer safety concerns, I had no choice but to exit the water and suspend my rescue efforts," Deputy Logan Tromer wrote.
Yet the family's leading attorney Michelle Whitfield is challenging the officers' assertions that they did everything in their power to save the girls.
Upon reviewing the footage, Whitfield remains skeptical about the deputies' efforts.
"I don’t see anyone wet. I don’t see anyone drenched," Michelle Whitfield told ABC News. "No one said, 'Hey, I'm going in there to help these girls.' I find it hard to believe that they actually went in."
New dashcam footage reveals that a sheriff in St. Petersburg, Florida has been covering up for his deputies—the footage exposes that these deputies simply watched as three teenage girls drowned while their vehicle sunk into a pond.
Laniya Miller, 15, Ashaunti Butler, 15, and Dominique Battle, 16, accidentally drove their Honda into a pond after running a red light; they were screaming for help, but received none.
According to The Free Thought Project, the St. Petersburg sheriff initially declared that, “his deputies took off their gun belts and attempted to save three drowning teenage girls,” and the deputies were considered heroes.
Now, the dashcam footage shows that the cops nonchalantly discussed whether the girls had already drowned while standing next to the pond, listening to them screaming.
In the video, you can hear one deputy remark, “I hear them yelling, I think!”
Another responds, “They were yelling. I thought I heard yelling.”
“As it was going down,” a deputy says. “But now, they’re done. They’re done.”
This is chilling to say the least; however, it appears the deputies haven’t faced consequences for either their horrific apathy or the false reports they produced—none of the individuals involved, including the sheriff, have been charged criminally.
Akin to the numerous stories of police brutality, this is yet another instance of police officers being let off the hook despite overwhelming evidence that they acted irresponsibly and possibly even maliciously.
Banner Image Credit: Twitter, @KentFireRFA