Police officers have told Johnny Depp’s defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard they found no evidence of domestic violence after receiving a call from the actress.
The trial between Mr Depp and Ms Heard began on Monday 11 April in Fairfax, Virginia following Mr Depp’s lawsuit against his ex-wife in March 2019. Mr Depp is arguing that she defamed him in a December 2018 op-ed published in The Washington Post titled “I spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change”.
Officers Melissa Saenz and Tyler Hadden of the LAPD said during pre-recorded depositions played in court on Tuesday and Wednesday that they didn’t identify any evidence that a crime had been committed.
Officer Saenz responded to Mr Depp’s penthouse at the Eastern Columbia Building in Los Angeles where Ms Heard was staying on 21 May 2016, finding her crying.
While she said Ms Heard’s face was red with emotion, the 12-year veteran of the LAPD testified that she didn’t witness any injuries to Ms Heard.
“We met with a victim,” the officer said in a pre-recorded video deposition played in court.
“We checked the location. The husband wasn’t there, and the victim advised us that she just had an argument. And that she wasn’t going to give us any further information. And because we didn’t identify a crime, we issued her a business card.”
She added that they “let her know that she could reach out to us later if she changed her mind and wanted to cooperate”.
Ms Heard filed a request for a restraining order against Mr Depp later that month, claiming that he had thrown a phone toward her face.
Officer Saenz said several times that she would have filed a report if she thought a crime had been committed, but she said she didn’t see anything to make her think that domestic violence had taken place.
Mr Depp has tested that it was he who was the victim of domestic abuse, claiming that Ms Heard made up her allegations when she realized he wanted to end the relationship.
The pre-recorded deposition of LAPD officer Tyler Hadden was played in court on Wednesday morning. He also responded to the 21 May 2016 incident – the final altercation between the couple before their split. Ms Saenz was his training officer.
The officers arrived at the building at 8.57pm, with a police document showing that they “met with victim” at 9.22pm. Officer Hadden said Ms Heard didn’t request that a report be filed and that their investigation didn’t warrant that one be written.
He said Ms Heard had no visible injuries and that there were no signs indicating that a struggle had occurred.
The “victim, correction, witness… was uncooperative”, he said.
“I had no idea who she was,” he added.
Officer Hadden said Ms Heard’s face was “red from her crying” and not “from any other thing,” adding that “it was consistent with her crying”.
He added that it wouldn’t be common practice for the officers to write a report on a “verbal dispute only”.
In her 2018 op-ed, Ms Heard wrote that “like many women, I had been harassed and sexually assaulted by the time I was of college age. But I kept quiet – I did not expect filing complaints to bring justice. And I didn’t see myself as a victim”.
“Then two years ago, I became a public figure representing domestic abuse, and I felt the full force of our culture’s wrath for women who speak out,” she added at the time.
While Mr Depp isn’t named in the piece, his legal team argues that it contains a “clear implication that Mr Depp is a domestic abuser”, which they say is “categorically and demonstrably false”. Mr Depp is seeking damages of “not less than $50m”.
Ms Heard has filed a $100m counterclaim against Mr Depp for nuisance and immunity from his allegations.