VANCOUVER - Two officers with the Vancouver Police Department in British Columbia have been assigned to "non-deployable, administrative positions" after they were filmed taking photos next to a dead body on Feb. 24.
"As of yesterday [Monday] morning, under Section 110 of the Police Act, the VPD has reassigned the two officers to non-deployable, administrative positions while the [Office of Police Complaint Commissioner] investigation is ongoing," Simi Heer, VPD director of public affairs told CBC.
"Any change in this status, will depend on the outcome of the OPCC investigation," she said.
Footage of the officers was posted on social media by Zachary Ratcliffe, a local photographer.
Ratcliffe told Storyful he was walking along the Vancouver Seawall already recording video footage when he saw the body and the officers, who appeared to be laughing and taking photos.
"I approached the police officers on the beach, and while I was recording I asked them point-blank if it was a deceased person, and they confirmed it," Ratcliffe told Storyful. "To see their clear lack of understanding of the gravity of the situation was disappointing," Ratcliffe said.
"I have a lot of respect for police and law enforcement. But having said that, these guys really did [the police] a disservice," Ratcliffe continued.
Heer told Storyful that the officers were responding to a call about a deceased person on shore at Third Beach, and were waiting for a coroner to arrive. They also said that the cause of death was determined to not be suspicious.
"The VPD’s Professional Standards Section has provided the video to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. 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," Heer said.
"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," Heer continued.
Storyful contributed to this story.