Controversial Crime Scene Photograph Explained Of Officer In Picture With Dead Person

An officer is seen posing Omar Rahman's body in a crime scene photo which has prompted backlash.

An officer is seen posing Omar Rahman’s body in a crime scene photo which has prompted backlash.

Controversial Crime Scene Photograph Explained

North St. Louis – Authorities explain what happened in the picture of a police officer holding up a dead man’s hand while appearing to be smiling

On August 8th, 2016, 28-year-old Omar Rahman was found dead in his home from an apparent drug overdose. Shortly after, a picture surfaced of a police officer holding the deceased man’s arm up while giving a thumbs up and smiling.

The internet erupted into outrage over the picture after it was released by St. Louis News Station KMOV4. Omar Rahman’s mother is understandably upset about it, I would be too if it was one of my family members, but did anyone stop to think that the officer probably didn’t mean any disrespect by it?

On Tuesday, KMOV released another story with an actual explanation about what was happening in the picture:

“This photograph depicts an officer positioning a deceased person in order to allow a detective to take pictures of the scene,” wrote Chief Swope. “Pictures were taken to show what the officers believed to be the cause of death and of the arms and posterior to show that there were no signs of trauma to those parts of the body.”

The letter states the following about the thumbs up:

“The officer gave the “thumbs up” sign related to his positioning of the body in response to the photographer’s question as to whether he was ready for the photo to be taken.”

“When the detective realized the officer was in the picture, he took another photograph that omitted the officer and showed the portion of the body being photographed only, consistent with training.”

First off, I’m not defending or condemning the officer’s actions, I just want to talk a little bit about a line of work where bodies are sometimes an every day thing. He may have been smiling because someone just told him a joke, or someone might have said smile for the camera. Either way, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t meant to be malicious.

Police officers often experience mangled bodies, dead kids, basically some of the worst things imaginable. The news normally doesn’t show the initial wreck scene or crime scene. The gnarly stuff that the first responders deal with. The toddler stabbed to death. The crying parents and family members. The gore being sprayed off of the road by the fire department etc..

For all these awful things, we have coping mechanisms. Most, if not all, first responders use humor as a coping mechanism. Some drink, some work out, some even commit suicide. Hundreds of first responders kill themselves every year due to untreated PTSD.

I’m not asking for your sympathy, but the police officer in the picture wasn’t cracking a smile because there was a dead black guy in front of him.

As one reddit user so eloquently put it:

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