Police video conflicts with family’s claims father told officers child was in backseat of hot car – WSB-TV Channel 2

Police video conflicts with family’s claims father told officers child was in backseat of hot car

SNELLVILLE, Go. — A Gwinnett County father accused of leaving his baby to die in the back seat of his car is set to go before a judge Friday morning.

David Whatley’s family said Snellville police officers assured him his 8-month-old baby was OK.

Channel 2’s Audrey Washington spent the day Thursday going through the body camera videos of the incident released by police.

Washington said the sound in the videos is hard to hear at times, but she was able to hear some key moments during Whatley’s interaction with police.

Now, criminal legal experts are now weighing in on the case.

The first Snellville police body camera video shows the moment a detective walked up to Whatley, who was seated in the police department lobby.

Whatley arrived at the department Tuesday afternoon to pick up his belongings which were seized during a previous case.

“So unfortunately, you can’t get your gun back because you have a warrant,” a police officer told Whatley.

Another officer told him it was because of a probation violation.

“Or what?” Whatley asked.

“Probation violation. Depends on what you got in trouble, how you violated your probation,” the officer told him.

Police arrested Whatley on an unrelated warrant.

All of this happened as Whatley’s 8-month-old daughter, Nova, slept in the back seat of his car, in a nearby parking lot.

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Whatley’s family said he told police his daughter was in his car.

“He kept asking about and over again, ‘Can I make a phone call? Someone needs to go get my daughter,’” Whatley’s mother Leticia Padilla told Washington on Wednesday.

Police say Whatley never told them about his daughter.

At one point, after Whatley is handcuffed, you can hear another officer say something about a person in a parking lot.

“Somebody is in the parking lot,” that officer is heard saying on the video.

It’s unclear exactly who that officer was referring to in the lot.

A second video showed another officer take Whatley to a waiting patrol car. While inside the car, a third video captured the moment Whatley asked for his phone.

whatley: “I just need to make a phone call.”

Officer: “Your phone?”

whatley: “I just need to make a phone call that’s it.”

Whatley’s family said he was trying to call for someone to pick up his daughter.

It was around 9:30 pm when a family member found the 8-month-old dead in the back seat of Whatley’s car, still parked near the police department.

Whatley is now charged with second degree murder.

“Whoever knew should have gone out and checked on that baby,” attorney Andrew Lampros said.

Lampros is not involved in the case, but said if lawyers can prove that someone at the department knew the baby was in the car and did not check on her, the murder charge against Whatley could get dropped and the Whatley family could sue.

“Under the Georgia Court Claims Act for wrongful death, they could have a claim for the child’s violation of its constitutional rights,” Lampros said.

In the videos Washington viewed, she did not hear Whatley mention his daughter, but you do clearly hear him ask to make a phone call.

Channel 2 Action News has put in requests for more video from the lobby at the police station. As soon as we get that video, we will share it with you.

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