Dashcam shows officers discussing teens as they drown in stolen car
Dominique Battle, 16, Ashaunti Butler, 15, and Laniya Miller, 15, died April 1 after a night of joyriding and running from the cops. They stole a 1990 Honda Accord after its owner offered to give the girls a ride to a nearby park. The driver first stopped at Walmart to buy a TV. He left the car running. When he returned the car and girls were gone.
Pinellas County sheriff's deputies caught up with the stolen car and eventually chased the trio into a cemetery. Police knew there was no way out. The girls were driving very fast through dark, twisting roads when they drove off of the pavement and into a pond. The sheriff previously told reporters that officers removed their belts and attempted to wade into the water to save the girls, but became trapped in muck.
The recently released video seems to contradict Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri statements that officers attempted to wade into the pond, but became stuck in the mucky water. Deputies can be heard discussing the girl's screams near one of the cruisers as the girls sink into the pond. Deputies also seem to be standing around the pond, rather than wadding in.
"I hear them yelling, I think," one officer said.
"They're done. They are 6-7, dude" another officer said.
"They were yelling," a deputy responded. "I thought I heard yelling."
As the car continued to sink the deputy replied, "But now, they're done. They're done."
An attorney for Laniya Miller's mother did not want to comment on the new evidence, but told WTSP that the legal team is reviewing the footage. Gualtieri stands by the actions of his officers in this incident.
"The officers got in the pond and just because it's not on cam doesn't mean it didn't happen," Gualtieri told ABC. Dive teams found the car 60 yards off shore and 15 feet below the surface.
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