Two Vancouver police officers are having their conduct probed, after one was filmed taking pictures of the other next to a dead body at Third Beach in Stanley Park.
Police had been called to the area around 8:30 a.m., Wednesday, and said the death did not appear suspicious.
However, it was the actions of two officers holding the scene down that are now under investigation.
“It was upsetting to see. That’s why I started recording, really,” Zachary Ratcliffe told Global News.
“That’s what initially got my attention seeing these guys laughing and joking about it and seeing the body right there.”
Ratcliffe pulled out his phone, and filmed as one officer posed by the body and the other took photos.
“What if you were the mother of that person or the father?” Ratcliffe asked. “I just felt for the person on the beach and their family.”
In a statement to Global News, the Vancouver Police Department said the incident had been referred to the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner.
“There will be a Police Act investigation into the conduct of the officers in the video. The status of the officers is also under review,” Simi Heer, director of public affairs for the VPD, said in an email.
“The VPD does not condone, and strictly prohibits, officers taking photographs without an authorized purpose. 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.”
Ratcliffe is still rattled from seeing the body and what transpired around it.
He said he respects the difficult job that police have to do, and acknowledges he doesn’t have all the details about what happened that morning.
But he said he’s glad he spoke up, and hopes the incident starts a dialogue about policing.
“There are a lot of unanswered questions, and I just didn’t want this to be swept under the rug,” he said.
“I hope there is a discussion about everybody deserves the same amount of dignity and respect that that gentleman wasn’t afforded.”