Brazilian Authorities Accuse U.S. Swimmers of Vandalism, Want Apology

Aug 18, 2016  •  Post A Comment

Police in Rio de Janeiro say a story told by Ryan Lochte and other U.S. swimmers that the group was robbed at gunpoint was a lie to cover up an act of vandalism at a gas station. CNN reports that Civil Police chief Fernando Veloso said at a press conference today that the athletes should “provide apologies to the city of Rio.”

Video continues to surface that paints a much different picture of the incident than the story originally told by Lochte and the others. The incident took place early Sunday morning while Lochte, James Feigen, Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were out partying. They’re accused of damaging a gas station bathroom and doing other minor damage.

“The surveillance tapes show that there was no violence against the athletes at the gas station,” Veloso said during today’s press conference. “Their claim that they are a victim of an assault or robbery or any kind of violence is not true.”

The report portrays Lochte, 32, as the principal troublemaker, saying he “got into an angry, drunken confrontation with security guards,” according to Veloso. Lochte, who is back in the U.S., originally said he had a gun held to his head during a robbery, and has stood by his story even as it began to appear less credible.

“Veloso, however, said one of the two swimmers who have been questioned by police — Bentz and Conger — has confirmed that there was no robbery and no violence against the swimmers and that the trouble arose from their vandalism,” CNN reports. “He declined to say whether it was Bentz or Conger who was cooperating.”

The report adds: “A firearm was pointed at the American swimmers by one of the security guards at a vandalized gas station in order to control one of them, Brazilian police said. It is not being deemed an excessive use of force.”

The group reportedly paid 100 Brazilian reals and a $20 bill to the gas station personnel on the night of the incident for damages to the gas station bathroom.

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