Home News Chief defends officer over controversial photo with deceased man

Chief defends officer over controversial photo with deceased man

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In early August, 28-year-old Omar Rahman was found dead at a home in Pine Lawn, Missouri. The cause of death was determined to be an accidental drug overdose, but Rahman’s mother says she heard little more from police after that.

Weeks after her son’s death, a leaked photo surfaced of Rahman’s body at the crime scene.  Alongside him is a North County Cooperative police officer wearing gloves, holding the arm of the body and giving a thumbs up, while appearing to smile for the camera.

Yesterday Chief Tim Swope released a statement on the matter in the form of a letter, which was posted on the dept’s official Facebook page.

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In that letter, the chief defends the actions of his officer saying he gave the “thumbs up” sign related to his positioning of the body “in response to the photographer’s question as to whether he was ready for the photo to be taken.”

The chief also writes that the detective taking the photo “did not know the officer was in the initial photo until immediately after it was taken because the detective was trained to use the camera’s optical view finder, not the LCD panel.”

The letter does not address the expression on the officer’s face nor does it provide any explanation for how the photo was stolen. According to News 4, the victim’s mother was reportedly told that the department’s official crime scene camera “had been missing for a time.”

The attorney representing Rahamn’s mother called the photo “hideous.” He says he’s seen thousands of forensic photos but has never seen a staged or posed photograph with cops standing next to a body.  As for the statement released by the chief on Monday, Rahman’s family attorney called it, “self-serving.” He also said: “Taking a “fun” picture of a potential crime scene is distrustful, immoral, unprofessional, and a clear sign of a lack of sensitivity training on the part of this department.”

 

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