Police have released dashcam footage that appears to show officers standing by as three teenage girls drowned. The footage, however, doesn’t show the full incident.
The clip was released by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, which shows deputies in a car chase with the teenagers, who were driving a Honda Accord that they had allegedly stolen, ABC News reported.
“We are in the process of reviewing everything,” the girls’ lawyer, Will Anderson, said to ABC News. “In my opinion, this has been a rush to judgment,” Anderson added. “In my opinion, this has been a smear campaign.”
The chase ended up in a pond at the Royal Palm cemetery where the girls then drowned.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said that deputies did what they could and did it by the book. They attempted to save the teens’ lives after their car drove into a pond.
“I’m not going to stand by and let these people cast a false narrative, ” Gualtieri told ABC. “They’re reaching, and they want to be spin masters.”
They were identified as 15-year-old Laniya Miller, 15-year-old Ashaunti Butler, and 16-year-old Dominique Battle.
According to Fox, One deputy in the video can be heard saying, “I hear them yelling, I think.”
“They’re done. They are 6-7, dude,” says another.
“They were yelling,” a deputy says. “I thought I heard yelling.”
The deputy then adds, “But now, they’re done. They’re done.”
Gualtieri said that the pond was “thick with sludge” and it was difficult for the cops to reach the girls.
“The officers got in the pond and just because it’s not on cam doesn’t mean it didn’t happen,” Gualtieri added.
“As you walk up to the pond you can clearly see the path the vehicle took driving into the pond,” reads a police report. “There was a path of down tall grass and cattails leading into a heavily vegetative pond. The PCSO Dive team was able to locate the vehicle approximately 60 yards into the pond. Divers advised the pond was approximately 15 feet deep where the vehicle was resting facing east. They were able to secure a tow line but were unable to see anything due to poor visibility.”