Words by Zach Cartwright
A Saint Louis mother is outraged after a photo surfaced, showing a local police officer pose next to her dead son’s body, giving the camera a thumbs-up.
In the photo, a North County Police Cooperative (NCPC) officer responding to the scene of 28-year-old Omar Rahman’s home is seen holding up the dead black man’s arm while wearing sanitary gloves. Despite the gruesome environment, the officer is seen smiling and giving a thumbs-up gesture.
“[W]hen they come to a call, they’re supposed to be there to help and protect,” said Kim Staton, Rahman’s mother, who said police have divulged very little details to her since recovering Rahman’s body.
While the Pine County, Missouri Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Rahman’s death as the result of an accidental drug overdose, Staton’s attorney, Antonio Romanucci, called the photo “hideous” and said the implications of the photograph are “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,” Romanucci told local media. “Who was there that allowed this to go on? Was there any sergeant involved? Those are the questions that need to be asked and that’s what needs to be found here.”
The photo was leaked several weeks after Rahman’s death, though the NCPC is remaining tight-lipped about the photo. Chief Tim Swope declined to be interviewed by KMOV, only saying that the agency was conducting an internal and external investigation into “the totality” of the situation. Attorneys for the NCPC have since sent threatening letters to KMOV for reporting on the leaked photo, saying they’re in possession of stolen property.