USA Today: Actually, Lochte Was Right
What actually happened that night in Rio? That's the question many people are asking, especially following a new report released by USA Today yesterday evening that throws serious doubt on the case against U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte accused of vandalizing a gas station restroom and lying to authorities and everyone else.
According to USA Today, the Rio authorities may be the ones who are lying, and Lochte was the one telling the truth for the most part.
Police reports say that in the midst of the Rio Olympics, Lochte and three teammates were very drunk when they went to a gas station late at night, broke into a locked restroom, and vandalized it. When security guards arrived, they had to draw their weapons because the swimmers were being so confrontational. When asked to pay for the damage to the restroom, the swimmers finally agreed and were allowed to leave but later lied about the incident.
But according to a USA Today investigation, a witness involved in the scene, a Brazilian judge, some legal experts, and Lochte, the police reports could be highly inaccurate.
Both parties agree that the swimmers were very drunk, but USA Today could find no evidence that the restroom was broken into or vandalized. Video evidence doesn't show it occurring either, although it does seem certain that Lochte at least ripped a poster off the wall of the gas station before the men urinated outside the building.
When it comes to the arrival of the security guards, USA Today suggests they did not correctly identify themselves, which on top of the language barrier, caused a lot of confusion. Lochte said his claim that he had a gun pointed at his head was an exaggeration, but it does appear that he and his friends were held at gunpoint. A legal expert says the security guards may have not been lawful in demanding payment for damages at gunpoint, and that the amount they demanded could have been higher than the minimal damage that occurred. Thus, the incident by all appearances could be seen as a robbery at gunpoint.
Read the full USA Today report here.
Meanwhile, Lochte has lost all four of his major swimming sponsors, according to Fortune.
What do you think of this?