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Mayor apologizes to men in mall photos who were labelled 'suspicious'

(Renee Bernard, NEWS 1130 Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The mayor of Vancouver has apologized to two men and a teenager singled out in an internal police bulletin for “suspicious behaviour” at a downtown shopping mall.

Gregor Robertson says it was a mistake that a document containing unblurred photos of three men described as “Middle Eastern” was leaked and that an online media outlet published the pictures on Thursday.

Surveillance photos of Mohammed Sharaz, his friend and his son taking pictures at Pacific Centre mall raised suspicions with shopping centre authorities, who relayed the information to the Vancouver Police Department.

Police quickly cleared the men, but Sharaz says he remained fearful they might be identified and attacked on the street.

Sharaz doesn’t blame the police for the ordeal but says he is considering legal action against Vancity Buzz, the news and culture website that published the unblurred photos.

The trio are from the United Kingdom and are in Canada to receive specialized treatment for visual disabilities.