On August 8th this year, 28-year-old Omar Rahman was found dead in his St. Louis, Missouri home. The Medical Examiner ruled his death an accidental overdose, but Kim Staton, Rahman's mother, said that police hadn't been communicating with her about her son's death. “I really don't know, actually, what happened to my son,” Staton said.
Weeks after hearing the news of her son's tragic death, Staton was shocked to discover that local TV station KMOV had released a photo showing a cop smiling and giving a “thumbs up” while standing next to what appears to be Rahman's dead body. The date on the photo matches the date of his death, August 8th. Staton told reporters that seeing the photo hurt her even more, “because when [police] 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.”
“It's hideous,” Staton's attorney, Antonio Romanucci, said of the photo. “The implications of this photograph are just 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.” The attorney has called for an outside investigation into the photo. “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,” Romanucci said.
A lawyer for the North County Police Cooperative (NCPC) threatened KMOV-TV for releasing the photo, which it claimed was “stolen property.” Police reportedly do not know how the photo was leaked, and Staton said that cops told her that their crime scene camera was missing. “If the police department doesn't even know how it's been released, then certainly, that's a problem," former St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom said. “The fact that the photo is out is just problematic, so even if you can't determine the intentions of the officer, which by the photo, look questionable, you certainly are distressed and concerned that it's out in the public.”