Newly-released dash cam video shows how Pinellas County deputies responded as they followed three teenagers who they say crashed a stolen car into a St. Petersburg pond and died.
One clip shows one deputy speaking to another next to the pond.
Watch portions of one dash cam video in the video player above
“They’re done,” the deputy tells the other. “They’re done.”
Video shows the pond, like a marsh, too thick for deputies to save the girls. At a news conference following the early morning crash on March 31, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said deputies took off their belts and tried to rush into the water to save the girls. The sheriff said they didn’t get far.
But this dash cam video released Monday only shows deputies standing near the pond, watching the girl’s car sink and calling for back up.
“Let’s get rescue out here with a boat,” one deputy can be heard saying.
But it was too late.
“I hear them yelling, I think,” a deputy can also be heard saying.
Dominique Battle, 16, Ashaunti Butler, 15, and Laniya Miller, 15, drowned.
A call for investigation
Now their families have hired a lawyer and are calling for a new investigation, saying deputies aren’t telling the whole story about the girls they think law enforcement unfairly painted as criminals.
Last week, Laniya Miller’s mother fought through tears to speak about her daughter at a news conference.
“My daughter was not perfect,” she said. “What 15-year-old is?” her mother, Natasha Winkler, said.
The girls are accused of stealing a car in a Walmart parking lot, running from police several times before crashing into the pond. Their lawyers received the evidence Monday, saying they can’t comment until they goes through everything.
But just last week they told us after conducting their own investigation they believe there are inconsistencies in law enforcement statements.
“In my opinion, this has been a rush to judgment,” lawyer Will Anderson said. “In my opinion, this has been a smear campaign.”
Pinellas authorities respond with more footage
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office posted extended video of the incident to its Facebook page Friday. The sentiment of their message was that deputies stand by their original account -- reasserting that deputies had in fact gone into the water to save the girls.
The department hopes this new video will clear up any "false narratives" surrounding the validity of the rescue attempts.
(The post is embedded below. You can also view the video in the player at the top of this page.)