VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — A Vancouver man is shocked and saddened after seeing Vancouver police officers “snickering,” and posing for a photo while a person lay dead on Third Beach.
Zachary Ratcliffe recently started an Instagram journal, documenting walks, wildlife, and the weather in the city. But on Wednesday, as he turned the corner on the Stanley Park Seawall he saw something that he’s still struggling to process 36 hours later.
“I saw what I immediately thought was a body,” he says, adding he noticed police were on the scene, and the body wasn’t covered with a tarp or blanket.
“The officers were giggling, and laughing.”
So he started filming.
“I was incensed. I couldn’t believe it. I could hear the snickering, the laughing, so I just kept recording,” he explains.
“He walked down and he posed. You know twice, he posed in two different ways in front of the body. It left a bad taste in my mouth. I felt awful. There was a human being there that was lying on the beach, and there was no sensitivity whatsoever on display for this man or woman. It just saddens me, I’m saddened.”
For Ratcliffe, the behavior was all the more troubling because it was so brazen.
“There were people walking around. They were in clear view. It’s not like they were trying to hide anything, that bothered me too,” he says.
“For the life of me — I cannot understand why they would be laughing at the scene of a dead body.”
The conduct of the officers is now under investigation by the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner (OPCC), according to a spokesperson for the Vancouver Police Department.
“It is not appropriate for us to comment on the specific actions of the officers prior to hearing the findings of the OPCC process,” sats Const, Tania Visintin in an email.
“I can tell you that 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.
She says the death was not suspicious, but that responding officers did have to wait on the scene for the coroner to arrive.