Here's the gas-station surveillance video of the Lochte incident in Brazil

After two separate posts today on what might have happened, you deserve the firsthand evidence of what actually did happen. As I write this at 5:30 ET, news is breaking:

Brazilian police say there was never any “robbery.” Supposedly Lochte and the other three swimmers vandalized the gas-station bathroom, which drew the attention of the attendants. That’s the first shot in the clip, of the swimmers leaving the bathroom followed by one staff member with two more waiting at the door. The vibe is that they’re being ushered out, which would make sense if they’d just wrecked something. The next shot is of them getting into the taxi. At 1:08 of the clip, someone in what looks like a uniform approaches the driver’s window with his arm out. Presumably that’s a security guard. The first time I watched it, I thought he was holding a gun. After watching it again, it looks like his hand is empty — although Brazilian cops now admit that two guards did pull guns on the swimmers at some point, supposedly because they were intimidated by their size and aggressive behavior and thought they needed to produce a weapon to control them:

At one point, a security guard pulled a firearm after one swimmer behaved erratically, Veloso said, adding that the guard had not over-reacted: “From the moment the gun was pulled out, they calmed down. Once they were calm, the gun was lowered.”…

Staff at the Shell station said on Thursday that the U.S. swimmers ripped an advertising plaque off a wall while they urinated on a wall. Security was called and an argument ensued, said one employee who declined to give his name.

A sign on one of the bathrooms read: “Please Do Not Enter”.

After the guard walks away from the taxi, three minutes suddenly pass on the timestamp at the top and then the swimmers get out. The next shot is of them at an entrance to an alley, which I take it is behind the gas station, sitting down on the street as they talk to someone, probably the security guard. Supposedly money was exchanged at some point to pay for the damage to the restroom. Which brings us to the question: Was that a robbery? If guns have been pulled, if you’re out of public view (which is how it seems here), and if you’re under the impression that you’re not free to leave until you produce some cash, you might interpret that as a hold-up, especially if you’re being asked to pay more than you think the damage is worth. Brazilian authorities claim the swimmers forked over $50. Lochte says $400 was taken from him. Hmmmm.

Stay tuned. An Olympic organizer, by the way, said this of the incident: “Let’s give these kids a break… They had fun, they made a mistake, it’s part of life, life goes on, let’s go.” Lochte is 32 years old.

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David Strom 6:01 PM on June 05, 2023