Video shows officers posing in front of body; Vancouver police under investigation
Published Friday, February 26, 2021 1:10PM PST Last Updated Friday, February 26, 2021 6:42PM PST
VANCOUVER -- The conduct of two Vancouver police officers is under investigation after video footage emerged of the pair allegedly posing with a dead body at a popular beach.
Police spokeswoman Const. Tania Visintin said the officers responded to calls about a deceased person at Stanley Park's Third Beach on Wednesday, and waited for the coroner to arrive.
Visintin would not comment on the officers' actions but said the police department does not condone, and strictly prohibits, officers taking photographs without an authorized purpose.
Zac Ratcliffe was walking in the area when he saw the body and police officers laughing and posing for photos in front of it.
“The brazen nature of the fact they thought it was OK to publicly and openly take pictures of one another in front of a deceased person, to me, seemed insensitive and conduct unbecoming a police officer,” he said in an interview.
He said he recorded the incident and posted it to social media because their actions angered him.
“I can't imagine why any deceased body deserves to be disrespected that way,” he said.
Ratcliffe said he hasn't heard from Vancouver police about his video.
In video footage shared by Ratcliffe and uploaded to social media, the officers can be seen laughing and posing on the beach not far from a body.
Visintin said the video has been provided to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, which investigates possible misconduct by officers who work for municipal police forces in the province.
“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,” she said in a statement, adding that the status of the officers is under review.
Visintin said the officers seen in the video were unavailable to comment, and the Vancouver Police Union said it could not comment on the matter.
Cameron Loveless, the supervising director of investigative analysts for the complaints commissioner, said an investigation into the officers' conduct has been ordered.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021.