Officers seen on video laughing and snapping photos in front of body lying on the shore
Two Vancouver police officers who were videoed posing in front of and taking photos of a dead man lying on Third Beach in Stanley Park are now facing a Police Act investigation.
Const. Tania Visintin, media relations officer for the Vancouver Police Department, said the video has been sent to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) and that the status of the officers is also under review.
“I can tell you that the VPD does not condone and strictly prohibits officers taking photographs without an authorized purpose,” she said.
Visintin said the man’s death is not suspicious and that the officers were assigned to secure the site until the coroner arrived.
Videographer Zachary Ratcliffe came upon the scene while walking toward Third Beach around 10 a.m. PT Wednesday.
“I heard some laughing and looked over and saw some police officers on the rocks … and the body,” he said. “I recorded … the police officers looking at photos and kind of laughing and posing and continuing to show each other photos.
“I can’t really explain why these officers were doing this, but to see them laughing and clearly not understanding the gravity of the situation, and not providing the dignity and respect a deceased person would deserve, it struck me as an insensitive act,” said Ratcliffe.
According to Visintin, the VPD cannot comment on the specific behaviour of the two officers with the matter now before the OPCC.
“We expect all of our officers and civilian professionals to act in line with the values of our organization, including integrity, compassion, accountability and respect,” said Visintin.
Ratcliffe said he posted the video because he felt it needed to be seen.
“I think that the VPD should be concerned that officers feel that emboldened to act in such a way that clearly shows no respect for whoever this was,” he said.