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Video: Florida Sheriff Slams Media for Reports Deputies Let Girl Carjackers Drown After Crash

April 26, 2016  | 

VIDEO: Florida Sheriff Slams Media for Reports Deputies Let Girl Carjackers Drown After Crash

When three Florida teenagers stole a car, crashed it into a cemetery pond and then drowned, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri talked about his frustration, about lives "needlessly lost," and how the vehicle became a death chamber for the three girls.

Now, nearly a month after the tragedy, Gualtieri is angrily defending his agency against accusations that his officers didn't do enough to rescue the girls as the car sank in 15 feet of water. Bloggers, some TV stations and comedian D.L. Hughley have posted about the March 30 incident that claimed the lives of two 15-year-olds and a 16-year-old from St. Petersburg.

"Police caught on tape watching girls die. They didn't even try to help. Just watched. Sickening," Hughley wrote Friday morning on Facebook. His post had more than 5,000 reactions and 7,000 shares.

The posted dashcam video, which Gualtieri said was a "misleadingly" edited version of the original, shows the scene and includes audio of some of the officers. One deputy comments that he thinks he hears screams coming from the car and another says, "They are done. They are sig-7 dude." Signal 7 is law enforcement code to indicate a fatality. Commenters on Facebook widely criticized the deputies for not going into the water and trying to save the people inside the sinking car.

Later Friday, Gualtieri posted a different dashcam video from a second cruiser on the department's Facebook page showing two officers walking by with clothes in hand. Gualtieri said that deputies waded into the water and tried to save the girls - and that the video proves it, CBS News reports.

Comments (7)

Displaying 1 - 7 of 7

Sheriffs Explorer Sgt. @ 4/26/2016 5:23 PM

I agree with Sherriff Gualtieri. Its disgusting how the media, TV stations, and that not so funny "comedian" hughley picked up on this false story and ran with it. Now that the Sheriff has publicly stated the truth, they all owe the PCSO an apology. But, I'll be shocked if anyone from the media really does apologize. As for that comedian, I'm not going to ever listen to him. Especially not now. We all know what he stands for. Lies and injustice.

Jake @ 4/26/2016 6:34 PM

Most of the time the TV stations in the Tampa- St. Petersburg area provide very good coverage to high profile cases. Here we have three teens two of which according to the media were not new to the Juvenile Justice System, what sanctions the department of Juvenile Justice imposed on them we do not know but car theft was there thing according to the press. They took the car of a man who did them a random act of kindness in return they destroyed his car. The policy of the PCSO were followed, they do not pursue stolen vehicles. The PCSO did the right thing, these young women made a bad decision and paid for it with their lives.

Ima Leprechaun @ 4/27/2016 12:55 AM

I am not a big believer in video recording mainly because it is a narrow field of view with poor audio. Video represents about a 20% view of what is going on and it is a double edged sword. The media is great at editing stories to fit their point of view. But I saw the unedited version and they did everything they could humanly do to try to reach the car. I personally would not drown myself for felon's that ran from the police and intentionally drove into this water. Sure if it were possible to get to them saving them would have been priority, but there was no way to safely get to the (stolen) car. They chose this for themselves and all they had to do was pull over when they first deputy tried to stop them but THEY chose to run from the police and to drive into high water to try to get away.

Rick Mannix @ 4/27/2016 8:39 AM

Too bad, so sad. It was their choice to steal the car, their choice to run from the police. They got what they deserved. I will not be shedding any tears for them. WAKE UP AMERICA !!!!!!!!!

James Copping @ 4/27/2016 12:01 PM

"Can't post url, but these were teens of color" Why would you say that? Does it matter? I saw both the videos and I agree that there is only so much you can do in a case like this. You can hear the emotion of the officer in the video and it was not like they just walked away.

eodk9trainer @ 4/28/2016 12:39 AM

Really Rich Mannix? They deserved it? They deserved to be arrested and tried in court but deserved to die? GTFO

otj25yrs @ 4/29/2016 7:18 AM

one has to wonder if this would have received any attention from the media at all if they were not of color. This is yet another of the numerous cases where the media does not report the news responsibly but plays up and preys on race relations. The more tense race relations are the more they have to talk about which boosts their ratings. This is the real WAKE UP AMERICA The cable news networks are not required to tell you the truth like the broadcast news of yesteryear was. Cable news is considered by the FCC to be entertainment and are not held to the standard of public trust. They will say, in the style of reporting, anything sensational to sound like they are the first to "report" get it out there facts be dam^@d.

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