January 15, 2016 2:31 am
Updated: January 15, 2016 11:23 pm

Vancouver Police ‘not racial profiling’ suspects who took video of Pacific Centre

VPD Chief Constable Adam Palmer holds a press conference to update the public on the search to identify three men seen taking video of exits and entrances in Pacific Centre on Tuesday.

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UPDATE: Vancouver Police have since talked to the three men filming and say the trio is “completely innocent.”

Vancouver Police are trying to identify three men who were taking video of exits and entrances in Pacific Centre this week.

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It happened on January 12 at around 6:30 p.m. VPD said in a release “three Middle Eastern looking” men entered the building and took video of the mall and various exits and entrances, focusing in particular on the Dunsmuir Street exit.

Security at the mall “tried locating [the] males but were unsuccessful,” according to an internal memo by Vancouver Police.

Vancouver Police say the incident was suspicious but say at this time, they do not believe the men have committed a crime or that the public is at risk.

“Police are interested in speaking with them about their activity in the mall,” they wrote in a statement on the evening of January 14.

“Public safety remains our top priority and we are working with mall security and management to ensure the safety of visitors and staff.”

VPD Chief Cst. Adam Palmer said they are conducting an investigation into identifying the men and clarified in a press conference on Friday morning that this was an internal memo that was obtained by a news outlet and was not authorized for release.

Palmer said the VPD investigates suspicious circumstances all the time and for privacy reasons “has not and will not be releasing pictures or information at this time.”

As it relates to the description of the three men, Palmer said it is standard VPD practice to describe suspects in detail and this was not a case of racial profiling.

Police are following up on a number of tips but asks anyone with information about the men to call the VPD at 604-717-3235.

Grounds for public concern?

Security analyst Leo Knight told Global News while it may not be unusual for somebody to take pictures or selfies at Pacific Centre, taking pictures of exits and entrances is very odd behaviour. 

WATCH: How do police assess who may be a security risk in a case like this? Security analyst Leo Knight joins Global News with more.

Knight says he is not surprised Vancouver police decided to release the images of the three men, because investigators, at this point in time, have no ability to identify them without public assistance and identification has to happen before police can determine what their intentions were.

“I think we have to be pragmatic,” says Knight. “In the wake of what happened in Paris and San Bernardino, we have to understand that there is a risk out there and when we see something, we need to say something.”

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