In the image, obtained by St. Louis station KMOV, the North St. Louis officer is seen smiling while giving the thumbs up sign next to the corpse of 28-year-old Omar Rahman.
“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,” Rahman’s mother Kim Staton said after she was shown the photo by KMOV.
Officers responded to a call to Rahman’s home where he was found deceased over the summer. His death has since been ruled an accidental overdose.
“It’s hideous,” Staton’s lawyer, Antonio Romanucci said. “The implications of this photograph are just astronomical. I have seen thousands and thousands of forensic photographs, I have never seen a staged photograph of an officer next to a deceased body.
North County Police Cooperative Chief Tim Swope threatened a KMOV reporter with legal action if the photo was published, and wouldn’t answer questions on the matter.
The image is stamped Aug. 8, 2016, the date of Rahman’s death. KMOV obtained the photo from an anonymous source.
St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom, acknowledged that the officer’s “intentions” look “questionable,” but said that he doesn’t know the full circumstances behind the image.
“The fact that the photo is out is just problematic,” Isom admitted. “So even if you can’t determine the intentions of the officer, which by the photo, look questionable, you certainly are distressed and concerned that it’s out in the public.”
Local authorities are currently investigating the officer involved and how the image got into the media’s hands.