Utah City Will Investigate How Police Officers Handled Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie Dispute

The city of Moab, Utah, will determine if officers breached protocol while responding to reports of a domestic dispute on Aug. 12

The city of Moab, Utah, announced that it will investigate how police officers handled a dispute between Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie last month.

On Aug. 12, a man called 911 to report that Laundrie was "slapping" Petito. Moab police located the couple and pulled them over; while interviewing the two, Petito admitted to striking Laundrie, and Laundrie admitted to pushing her.

The officers' entire interaction with the couple, which lasted more than an hour, was captured on body cam footage that has since been publicly released. In the footage, Petito can be seen crying while Laundrie appears to be "cold" and "calculating," Cornell University forensic psychiatrist Dr. Ziv Cohen tells PEOPLE.

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The incident ended with Petito and Laundrie agreeing to separate for the night and get some space from one another.

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A officer who responded to the Aug. 12 call wrote in a police report, which was obtained by PEOPLE, "After evaluating the totality of the circumstances, I do not believe the situation escalated to the level of a domestic assault as much that of a mental health crisis."

However, another officer wrote in the report, "It wasn't clear, but I believe it was reported the male had been observed to have assaulted the female."

The incident was classified as "disorderly conduct," not domestic assault, and Petito was viewed as the aggressor — conclusions that have drawn criticism from some members of the public.

"The Moab City Police Department has clear standards for officer conduct during a possible domestic dispute and our officers are trained to follow those standards and protocol," the city of Moab said in a statement, according to CNN. "At this time, the City of Moab is unaware of any breach of Police Department policy during this incident. However, the City will conduct a formal investigation and, based on the results, will take any next steps that may be appropriate."

Reviewing the body cam footage, Cohen tells PEOPLE the video "fits the profile of a domestic abuse situation, where you have the victim self-blaming and trying to protect the abuser."

Cohen says Laundrie "seems very good at presenting himself as harmless, standing there with his shoulders slouched, and his hands held in front of him."

In light of all this, Cohen called the response by police "distressing."

"We understand that individuals can view the same situation in very different ways," the city of Moab said, "and we recognize how the death of Ms. Petito more than two weeks later in Wyoming might lead to speculation, in hindsight, about actions taken during the incident in Moab. The purpose of the City's formal investigation is to gather the underlying facts and evidence necessary to make a thorough, informed evaluation of such actions."

*With reporting by Wendy Grossman Kantor.

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