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Vancouver police officer filmed posing for photos next to dead body

Click to play video: 'Conduct of  VPD members under investigation after actions caught on camera by bystander' Conduct of VPD members under investigation after actions caught on camera by bystander
WATCH: Footage shows at least one officer posing next to a person's body is found on Third Beach Wednesday morning. The VPD says the officers' status is also under review. – Feb 25, 2021

Two Vancouver police officers will have their conduct probed, after one was filmed taking pictures of the other next to a dead body at Third Beach in Stanley Park.

Police had been called to the area around 8:30 a.m., Wednesday, and said the death did not appear suspicious.

Read more: B.C. Premier John Horgan promises changes to Police Act, says calls for defunding ‘simplistic’

However, it was the actions of two officers holding the scene down that are now under investigation.

“It was upsetting to see. That’s why I started recording, really,” Zachary Ratcliffe told Global News.

“That’s what initially got my attention seeing these guys laughing and joking about it and seeing the body right there.”

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Advocacy groups call for end to Vancouver police street checks – Feb 18, 2021

Ratcliffe pulled out his phone, and filmed as one officer posed by the body and the other took photos.

“What if you were the mother of that person or the father?” Ratcliffe asked. “I just felt for the person on the beach and their family.”

In a statement to Global News, the Vancouver Police Department said the video had been referred to the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner.

Read more: Audit finds 94% drop in street checks by Vancouver police, critics renew call for ban

“There will be a Police Act investigation into the conduct of the officers in the video. The status of the officers is also under review,” Simi Heer, director of public affairs for the VPD, said in an email.

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“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.”

Ratcliffe is still rattled from seeing the body and what transpired around it.

He said he respects the difficult job that police have to do, and acknowledges he doesn’t have all the details about what happened that morning.

Read more: Man dies after being shot by police on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

But he said he’s glad he spoke up, and hopes the incident starts a dialogue about policing.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions, and I just didn’t want this to be swept under the rug,” he said.

“I hope there is a discussion about everybody deserves the same amount of dignity and respect that that gentleman wasn’t afforded.”

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