Statement Analysis® of Olympic Swimmer, Ryan Lochte
By Laurie Ayers
On Sunday 14 August 2016, the headlines read “U.S. Swimmer Ryan Lochte Robbed at Gunpoint in Brazil.”
Today, 17 August, the headlines changed to “A Brazilian judge has issued a search and seizure warrant for US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and teammate James Feigen as questions emerge about their account of being robbed at gunpoint early Sunday in Rio de Janeiro.”
Was Ryan telling the truth about being robbed at gunpoint? Below you’ll see my Statement Analysis® of Ryan’s own words.
Here is an interview of Ryan Lochte telling NBC’s “Today” show about the incident.
My analysis is below in blue. Pay attention to the words I have underlined. I have also numbered the paragraphs 1,2 and 3 for clarification purposes.
- “We got pulled over, in the taxi, and these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge and they pulled us over,” Lochte said.
*** Paragraph 1: Ryan referred to the four swimmers who were together as We. WE got pulled over and they pulled US over. He also described the suspects in plural – These GUYS, THEY pulled us over.
Additionally, he referred to the suspects as “THESE guys” which indicates he is familiar with the guys. If they were strangers it would be better to refer to them as SOME guys or A COUPLE guys. He did not tell us the how many guys, what they looked like nor what the Taxi driver was doing.
Look at the verbs he used to describe getting robbed at gunpoint – got pulled over, guys came out. Ryan is American. In the U.S., getting pulled over is generally a term used for a traffic stop. Getting pulled over is not typically something that is rushed or violent. Actually often when the police want to pull someone over they will flash their lights and the driver just knows they better pull over.
Instead of the suspects rushing the vehicle or storming it, he told us they came out. Have you ever picked up a friend or a child when you sat in the driveway until they came out to get in your car? For someone whose primary language is English, pulled over and came out are not generally used to describe a crime in progress.
The more a person talks the more information I have to analyze. If there are words I can remove from a sentence and the sentence is still grammatically correct, these extra words provide me with extra information. For example, in the statement, “these guys came out with a badge, a police badge, no lights, no nothing just a police badge” the first word “badge” and the last “police badge” and “no nothing” could be removed and the sentence will still make sense. These extra words tell us the kind of badge. It may be that the swimmers saw a badge that was not of the police that is a different kind which prompted him to use the word “police”, twice.
Sometimes these extra words will be qualifying words that show us the person is being deceptive.
- “They pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers to get down on the ground — they got down on the ground. I refused, I was like we didn’t do anything wrong, so — I’m not getting down on the ground.
***Paragraph 2: Ryan continued to describe the suspects in plural. More soft words for a crime in progress – they pulled out their guns, they told the other swimmers. Were all the suspects simultaneously telling the swimmers to get down? We don’t know how many suspects there were but Ryan tells us more than one by referring to them as They.
He told us the suspects were talking only to the other swimmers, but then told us that HE refused. A better way to say this would have been “they told US to get on the ground. He also told us he refused to get on the ground.
- “And then the guy pulled out his gun, he cocked it, put it to my forehead and he said, ‘Get down,’ and I put my hands up, I was like ‘whatever.’ He took our money, he took my wallet — he left my cellphone, he left my”
***Paragraph 3: As Ryan continued his interview he changed from referring to the suspects in plural to saying “the guy, he cocked it, he said, he took, he left.” Why the change? This would be something to probe further.
He’s also telling us that he pulled his gun out, yet in paragraph two he already told us they pulled their guns. “He put it to his forehead and he said”, Think about the word put – you put the baby in the crib, put the groceries on the counter. Do you put a gun to someone’s head? Or do you shove, point, force, aim it? Then with a gun to his head he put his hands up.
If you’re having to again say to someone to get down, do you say? Or do you order, bark, command, or yell? Ryan also does not tell us if he ever did get on the ground, he skipped over that part. He does tell us that the lone suspect took all their money but only his wallet, and thankfully he left Ryan’s phone and his Olympic credentials.
If the Olympic committee or Brazilian law enforcement officials were to hire me as a consultant, I would point out what I just told you. This would give them multiple opportunities to ask for clarification.
My job isn’t to render a verdict. Rather it’s to analyze his own words. Remember, people mean what they say. You can use their words to uncover deception.