*Ah hell. I hate to start such an important day as “Election Tuesday” with such a story. But no matter what time you read it, it’s still going to be ugly. A St. Louis mother has been served yet another dose of heartbreak following months of being unclear about the death of her son, — whose body had been found in a private home. Now she has to look at a photo, revealed to her by News 4, that appears to be of her dead son.
But that’s not all.
In the photo of the apparent scene of the incident, her son’s face has been blurred, but a police officer is looks to be posing next to the body; holding the man’s limp arm while looking at the camera and giving a ‘thumbs up.’
And a smile.
The body of Omar Rahman, 28, was located in a Pine Lawn home on August 8, and although the North County Police Cooperative were first responders, Rahman’s mother, Kim Staton, said she has heard very little from the police since the incident happened.
Rahman’s death was later ruled an accidental overdose by the Medical Examiner.
But the photo was leaked to KMOV and has kept investigative reporter Lauren Trager busy seeking answers to the questions raised by it. Questions that refer to appropriate officer conduct and evidence handling.
Trager even posed a question, strange as it was, to the dead man’s mother asking, “In your mind, is there any reasonable explanation for what that officer was doing?”
“No,” Staton responded. “Because when they come to a call, they’re supposed to be there to help and protect, not doing what he was doing with thumbs up and a smirk on his face.”
Staton’s attorney, Antonio Romanucci, agrees, and called the picture “Hideous.” He added, “The implications of this photograph are just astronomical,” said Romanucci.
“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 said.
But get this: NO ONE KNOWS WHERE THE PHOTO CAME FROM.
After the photo was revealed by News 4, the police told Staton their official crime scene camera had been missing for a time and that pictures were also gone.
And when News 4 attempted to get answers from the North County Police Co-op, Chief Tim Swope refused to go on-camera, saying that they were conducting an internal and external investigation into “the totality” of the situation.
And for some reason, he doesn’t even want to see the photograph, after repeated offers from the news station to do so.
As of this writing, Trager says she has reached out to the officer she believes in depicted in the photo, but he has not responded. And Antonio Romanucci is suing the Co-op for more information on his client’s behalf
“Had you not received that photograph we wouldn’t know this. We would never have known this,” said Romanucci.
Watch the News 4 video report below to learn even more about this story.