Rio Police: ‘No Robbery Against’ American Swimmers, Lochte
Police in Rio said that Ryan Lochte and three other American Olympic swimmers weren’t robbed—as was claimed by Lochte earlier this week.
Instead, the four Americans vandalized a gas station after leaving a party on Sunday morning, Brazilian police said in a press conference on Thursday.
Police said that “one or all” of the swimmers—Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz, James Feigen, and Lochte—broke bathroom mirrors and damaged items inside the bathroom, police said. They initially refused to stay but security asked the taxi not to leave.
“There was actually no robbery against the athletes,” the chief of Civil Police said in the press conference. “A statement by the taxi driver and surveillance video show that there was no physical or verbal violence against [the athletes] that could lead them to interpret there was a robbery. Their claim that they were a victim of an assault or robbery is not true.”
The athletes left money—around 100 Brazilian real and $20—to compensate for the damages, police said. A witness apparently saw the entire incident unfold, police said.
The police testimony, combined with images shot at a Rio gas station broadcast by Brazilian network Globo, seemingly undermine what Lochte and his teammates said.
“We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over,” Lochte told NBC News of the alleged robbery.
“They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground—they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn’t do anything wrong, so—I’m not getting down on the ground.”
The investigation is still ongoing, police added.
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On Wednesday, a judge ordered the swimmers’ passports confiscated so they could not leave the country while the investigation is ongoing.
Lochte had already returned to the United States by the time the judge’s order was handed down. Bentz and Conger tried to leave Rio but police removed them from their flight on Wednesday evening and confiscated their passports.