The Vancouver Police Department says it’s identified the three men seen in security footage at Pacific Centre and “determined their actions were completely innocent.”
“All three men were cooperative with investigators and they had a very logical explanation regarding their behaviour,” said the department in a statement, hours after it held a press conference asking that the three people who were seen filming inside the mall on January 12 to come forward.
Late on Friday, Global News learned what that logical explanation was. The youngest of the three males is a 14-year-old from England with vision impairment, and the two adults with him – his father and a family friend – were taking additional photos and video so he could better remember his visit to Canada after the fact.
“Because they don’t see well, they take more photos,” said Dr. Weidong Yu of the Wellspring Clinic, who said the family was in Vancouver so the child could receive treatment from him, and that they phoned Vancouver Police from his office Friday morning.
“It’s an innocent accident.”
Police had been investigating the situation for two days, but an internal memo with photos of the men was leaked to a local media outlet on January 14, and subsequently confirmed by the department itself.
VPD Chief Cst. Adam Palmer said there was no risk to the public, but said describing the individuals as “Middle Eastern looking” in their original release about the situation was not a case of racial profiling.