Ryan Lochte and Olympics teammate Jimmy Feigen indicted by Rio de Janeiro police for false police report about armed robbery
Six-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte and a second U.S. swimmer were indicted Thursday for making a bogus armed robbery report after a boozy Brazilian night out.
ABC News, citing federal police in the Olympic host country, said Lochte and teammate Jimmy Feigen now face charges of false reporting of a crime.
The pair, along with two other American swimmers, claimed they were robbed at gunpoint early Sunday morning as they rode back to Rio after partying into the wee hours.
Brazilian authorities said Thursday that the two men who pulled guns on the foursome were actually security guards summoned after quartet trashed a suburban gas station’s bathroom.
U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte has been indicted. (MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)
“The only truth they told is that they were drunk,” said Fernando Veloso, chief of the civil police in Rio. Lochte bolted from Rio before the closing ceremonies — and before his tale began to unravel.
Filing a false police report in Brazil is punishable by up to six months in detention or a fine.
Brazil’s Globo TV station obtained surveillance footage from the gas station showing Lochte and Feigen, along with fellow swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz, making a stop on their way home from a Rio suburb.
Jimmy Feigen and Lochte face charges of false reporting of a crime. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
One of the swimmers tried to open the door of an outside bathroom – and after finding it locked, the swimmers allegedly pushed on the door and broke it.
Despite the now-open door, they started urinating outside, the owner told the Brazilian newspaper O Globo.
“They stopped next to the gas station, and urinated … right next to the gas station,” he claimed. “We even have images of one of the athlete’s butts, as he is pulling up his pants.”
Security video shows the U.S. Olympic swimmers returning to their taxi at a gas station where they were accused by staff of causing damage. (HANDOUT/REUTERS)
The security guards were called to the scene, and noticed the bathroom’s soap dish, toilet paper, a sign and the door damaged, according to local media reports.
The swimmers tried to flee in their cab — but security instructed the cabbie to stay at the gas station. The swimmers finally handed over an unspecified amount of cash to cover the damages and drove off.
Authorities are now saying the tale, first told by Lochte to his mother, was untrue.
A spokesman for the Brazilian Olympic organizers urged people to go easy on the athletes.
“Let’s give these kids a break,” said spokesman Mario Andrada. “Sometimes you take actions that you later regret. They had fun, they made a mistake, it’s part of life. Life goes on.”
While Lochte returned to the United States ahead of a judge ordering seizure of his passport, the three other swimmers planned to meet Thursday with Brazilian law enforcement.
“All are represented by counsel and being appropriately supported by the USOC and the U.S. Consulate in Rio,” said U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Patrick Sandusky.
Bentz and Conger were released by local authorities after they were pulled off a plane at Rio’s airport, with the understanding that discussions would continue. Conger and Bentz told police that the robbery story had been fabricated, the Associated Press reports.
Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were removed from their flight departing for the United States Wednesday. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Lochte was spotted Wednesday with girlfriend Kayla Reid, not long after a Brazilian judge demanded his passport.
The six-time gold medalist defended his teammates in a Wednesday interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer, claiming that the robbery occurred amid growing speculation about the fateful night.
Lochte initially said armed men approached the swimmers’ taxi — and that one of them pointed a gun to his head. He later backtracked on some of those harrowing details, but remained adamant that the swimmers had been robbed.
Lochte said that the swimmers didn’t contact Olympic officials because they were “afraid [they’d]get in trouble.”
Authorities say they’ve been unable to find the taxi driver or any witnesses — and that the swimmers were too drunk to remember key details, such as the color of the taxi, from the night of the attack.
The incident brought scrutiny for Rio, which has dealt with perceptions of inadequate security surrounding the games.