The actions of an unknown Missouri police officer are being called into question after a local television station leaked a photograph of the cop posed next to the corpse of a man who had just died as a result of a drug overdose.
The victim’s mother, Kim Stanton, has since hired a legal team to investigate how drug-related deaths have all of a sudden become a selfie opportunity for those men and women hired to protect and serve the public.
In August, the North County Police Cooperative (NCPC) was dispatched to the residence of 28-year-old Omar Rahman, who was found dead inside the home. A report from KMOV-TV indicates the local medical examiner eventually ruled the death an accidental drug overdose.
But Stanton, who complains that police have all but refused to provide her with information regarding the case, is now trying to figure why there is a photo floating around of an officer smiling and giving a thumbs-up while holding her dead son’s arm.
Attorney Antonio Romanucci, who is representing Stanton in the case, said the photograph is one of the most “hideous” forensic photographs he has witnessed throughout his career.
“I’ve been doing this a long, long time,” he told the Huffington Post. “I’ve seen thousands and thousands of forensic videos and forensic photographs, and I’ve never seen anything as disgusting as this. Really, I have not.”
The North County Police Cooperative is now threatening to sue KMOV-TV, claiming the offensive photo is stolen property. A letter sent to the news organization suggests that its report was defamatory because it chalked the photo up as being the “picture the police don’t want you to see.”
“This is not the picture police don’t want you to see, it is the picture police want back because it was stolen,” reads a letter singed by attorney Lynette M. Petruska.
Interestingly, the NCPC claims that it does not know who is responsible for leaking the photo and the crime scene camera appears to be missing. The officer giving the “thumbs up” in the photo has yet to be named.
Romanucci believes the NCPC is trying to cover up the scandal at all cost, because posing for tasteless selfies with crime scene victims is likely something their officers have done before. He has requested to see a list of every person who has touched the forensic camera in the last two years.
“Clearly there are implications here that these officers have been doing this on more than one occasion,” he said.
As for Stanton, she is simply looking for answers. She remains mostly in the dark about what exactly happened to her son, and she wants some clarity over why any police officer would find it acceptable to snap a photo with a human being who has just died because of an addiction.
“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,” she said.
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