St. Petersburg, FL – Newly released dash cam footage reveals a Florida sheriff lied last month when he falsely claimed that his deputies took off their gun belts and attempted to save three drowning teenage girls. Instead of attempting to rescue the dying teens, the deputies can be seen on video standing beside the pond while listening to the girls’ final screams.
According to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, a friend asked 35-year-old Damien Marriott to drive the three teenage girls to Child’s Park on Wednesday, March 30. For some reason, Marriott reportedly stopped at a Walmart to buy a TV when he left his keys in the ignition with the engine running along with three girls that he did not know sitting in his 1990 Honda Accord. Although Child’s Park closes at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Marriott did not return to his vehicle or report his car stolen until 8:30 p.m. that night.
Several hours later, deputies reported seeing the Honda run a red light without its headlights on during a pursuit. Entering the back of a cemetery, the girls accidentally drove the Honda into a pond as deputies exited their vehicles and remained standing on shore.
While the Honda submerged into the swamp, a recently released police dash cam video recorded a deputy exclaiming, “I hear them yelling, I think!”
As the video moves forward another deputy can be heard saying, “They’re done. They are 6-7, dude.”
“They were yelling,” a deputy responds. “I thought I heard yelling.”
“As it was going down,” the other deputy interjects. “But now, they’re done. They’re done.”
Although Sheriff Gualtieri announced at a press conference that his deputies flung off their gun belts and dove into the swamp in a failed attempt to save the teenage girls, police dash cam video actually shows the deputies standing near the shore listening to the girls scream to death.
Two hours later, a tow truck pulled out a vehicle containing the deceased bodies of 16-year-old Dominique Battle from St. Petersburg High School, 15-year-old Ashaunti Butler from Dixie Hollins High, and 15-year-old Laniya Miller from Gibbs High.
“My daughter was not perfect,” Miller’s mother, Natasha Winkler, recently told ABC Action News through tears. “What 15-year-old is?”
Despite the fact that the sheriff initially released false information and his deputies likely provided false reports claiming they tore off their gun belts and dove into the murky water to save the dying teen girls, no criminal charges have been filed against any of the deceitful deputies. Caught on police dash cam video, the deputies clearly falsified their reports after standing around while callously listening to the drowning girls die.