Eric Pratt: Moab cop who botched Gabby Petito traffic stop threatened to kill GF with crowbar

'With him in charge, I don’t think Gabby stood a chance', said Gabby Petito's mother

Eric Pratt: Moab cop who botched Gabby Petito traffic stop threatened to kill GF with crowbar
Traffic cop Eric Pratt (L) handled a traffic stop involving Gabby Petito (R) and Brian Laundrie (C) (HMK Elementary/Facebook and @gabspetito/Instagram)
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MOAB, UTAH: Eric Pratt, one of the two police officers who responded to the August 2021 domestic violence call involving Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie, which prompted an independent investigation and a $50 million lawsuit against the department by Petito’s parents, has been accused of making death threats against his girlfriend. As per the reports, Pratt threatened to kill her with a crowbar.

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According to Jezebel, the lawsuit, which was filed on November 3, 2022 by Petito’s parents Joe Petito and Nichole Schmidt, alleged that Pratt was "fundamentally biased" against her. As a result, the officer misjudged the dangers she faced. Lawyers defending Petito's parents allegedly claimed that Pratt threatened to kill a woman after their relationship ended in 2017 while he was the police chief of a different town in Utah. As per the lawyers, Pratt spoke with Petito and Laundrie but was more sympathetic towards Laundrie, who strangled his fiancee Petito to death, because of his past history of domestic violence.

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'He’d kill me with a crowbar'

In 2017, the unnamed woman, who had known Pratt for years but had a short-lived affair with him, said that she was going through a divorce, while Pratt was still married to his ex-wife. At one point, she disclosed their relationship to Pratt’s then-wife. And later, she told the mayor to get Pratt to leave her, or she’d go public. After a few weeks, when she was shopping at Walmart with her daughter, she came across Pratt, who then followed her out of the parking lot to a gas station in Richfield. "He went to back seat and started talking to my daughter, telling her how adults don’t always see eye-to-eye but in the end hopefully everybody can be friends," she said and added that he went inside Walmart and bought candy for her daughter. "He came around to my window and told me that if anything ever got out he’d kill me with a crowbar," she said, reports Fox News.

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'He is an abuser himself'

Schmidt, Petito’s mother, told the outlet, "If the officer responding to Gabby’s situation is an abuser himself who would threaten a girlfriend’s life, it makes sense why he believed Gabby’s abuser and ignored her injuries. With him in charge, I don’t think Gabby stood a chance."

2021 domestic violence call

In Pratt’s bodycam footage, he is heard asking fellow responding officer Daniel Robbins, “How far do you want to go with this? You know why the domestic assault code is there. It’s there to protect people. The reason why they don’t give us discretion on these things is because too many times women at risk want to go back to their abuser, they just wanted him to stop, they don’t want to have to be separated, they don’t want him to be charged, they don’t want him to go to jail — and then they end up getting worse and worse treatment and end up getting killed.”  

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