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police officer giving thumbs up next to a dead man's body

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police officer giving thumbs up next to a dead man's body

Post by Admin on Sun Nov 06, 2016 2:50 pm

Much of the photo has been blurred out by the TV station that obtained it, wary of showing anything too graphic or identifying anyone before any investigation is complete, the reporter says.

But what's clearly visible is a man in a police officer's uniform wearing blue gloves, holding the arm of a body on the ground, looking at the photographer and giving the thumbs up with his right hand, slightly smiling. The date in the bottom right corner is Aug. 8, 2016, at 1:36 p.m.

That's the image KMOV reporter Lauren Trager received from an anonymous source. It has been picked up and shared out on social media, with many expressing horror at the seemingly carefree attitude of the officer dealing with a dead body.

For a St. Louis woman, the photo has sparked even more questions. KMOV identifed the body of the deceased man as Omar Rahman, who died on Aug. 8 from an accidential drug overdose, according to the North County Cooperative Police Department. Rahman's mother, Kim Staton, has said she has heard little from the police since his death and that she doesn't know "actually, what happened to my son."

"It's hideous. The implications of this photograph are just astronomical," Staton's lawyer, Antonio Romanucci, said.

Staton said there is no reason she can think of for the officer in the photo acting that way, "because when they come to a call, they're supposed to be there to help and protect, not doing what he was doing with thumbs up and a smirk on his face."

According to KMOV, North County Co-Op Police Chief Tim Swope declined to be interviewed on camera or to view the photograph, but said the department is conducting an investigation into the incident. How the photograph was leaked at all is unclear, as the station reports that the official police crime scene camera used was reported missing. Attorneys representing the police threatened legal action against the station for possessing "stolen property."

Staton, though, just wants an explanation for what really happened back in August, she said.

"That's what I am looking for, I'm looking for some answers," Staton told KMOV.

Rahman had been arrested several times and had been convicted of second degree burglary and armed criminal action, according to court documents. At the time of his death it also appears that he was facing another charge of second degree burglary.

Incidents of law enforcement and emergency responders taking photographs of victims is not a new issue, according to VICE News. It's against the law in West Virginia for anyone, even first responders, to photograph a corpse or body for anything other than "legitimate purpose associated with his or her employment" without the consent of the person or the person's family. New Jersey has a similar law, according to VICE.

The law was passed in response to an ambulance drive taking a photo of a dead man and posting it on social media, according to local media outlets.

In California, a family won a multimillion dollar settlement from the California Highway Patrol after images of their daughter, killed in a car crash, were posted online, according to the Orange County Register.

In Missouri, however, there does not appear to be any law against taking photos of dead bodies, though the officer could still be subject to the internal policies of the NCCPD and potentially liable for a civil suit.



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