Men reported for taking photos at Vancouver mall 'completely innocent,' police say

VANCOUVER -- A leaked internal police memo and accompanying photo labelled three "Middle Eastern" men suspicious, but on Friday Vancouver police said the men they wanted for questioning were actually innocent.

See Full Article

The leak gives an inside look at police communication and reveals how common such suspicious circumstances can be.

Still photos from surveillance footage began circulating Thursday night after Internet news and culture publication Vancity Buzz posted an article saying police were looking to speak with the men, who were spotted taking pictures of the entrances and exits at a local mall.

Police Chief Adam Palmer told a news conference Friday that the information about the suspicious incident was included in a confidential police bulletin, and was never intended to be released to the media.

"We weren't planning on going public with it at this point because we didn't feel it was something serious enough to go public with at this point," he said.

Hours later, police released a statement saying they had identified and spoken with the men.

"All three men were co-operative with investigators and they had a very logical explanation regarding their behaviour," the statement said. "The investigation has conclusively determined that their actions were completely innocent."

Vancity Buzz editor in chief Farhan Mohamed said his team published the story because it was in the public interest.

"I don't think it's fear-mongering. I think we're just being factual that this is happening and this could be something," he said.

The publication received a tip, and confirmed the information with police, who did not ask them to stifle the story, Mohamed said.

"I understand the gravity of the situation and investigations," he said. "And had it been a situation where they said 'This is an ongoing investigation, nothing that we want out yet, can you please not run it' then we wouldn't have run it."

The bulletin stated that the men were Middle Eastern, a fact Vancity Buzz included in their story.

Palmer said the description was not racial profiling, and that details on race are always included in these kind of memos between police forces.

"Regardless of what race these people may or may not be, that's not really the issue. The issue is that we weren't planning to go public with it at all," he said.

Reports of suspicious incidents are a regular occurrence for police, and the process includes looking to police experts before taking the information to the public, Palmer explained.

Often, that process includes sharing information with other police forces.

"When we fan these types of things out to police officers throughout the province, on almost every occasion, somebody will know who this person is," the chief said.

Despite the leak, Palmer said his force will not change the way it shares information with other forces.

They won't search for the source of the leak either.

"To track that down would be pretty onerous and pretty unlikely to find out who actually did it," he said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Buttigieg says the Oval Office needs a wartime veteran

    World News CTV News
    ANKENY, IOWA -- Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said Saturday the Oval Office requires a wartime veteran, a niche he occupies exclusively among top-tier candidates in his party's race for the 2020 nomination. During an interview on Iowa PBS in suburban Des Moines, Buttigieg was asked if there's value in a president who had faced hostile fire. Source
  • Trump's legal team launches impeachment defence in 6-page document

    World News CBC News
    The Democratic lawmakers leading the impeachment case against U.S President Donald Trump said on Saturday the Republican president must be removed from office to protect national security and preserve the country's system of government. In a brief, the lawmakers laid out their arguments supporting charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against the president. Source
  • Trump, Democrats offer duelling arguments ahead of Senate impeachment trial

    World News CBC News
    The Democratic lawmakers leading the impeachment case against U.S President Donald Trump said on Saturday the Republican president must be removed from office to protect national security and preserve the country's system of government. In a brief, the lawmakers laid out their arguments supporting charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress against the president. Source
  • Gun-rights activists gear up for show of force in Virginia

    World News CTV News
    RICHMOND, VA. -- Police are scouring the internet for clues about plans for mayhem, workers are putting up chain link holding pens around Virginia's picturesque Capitol Square, and one lawmaker even plans to hide in a safe house in advance of what's expected to be an unprecedented show of force by gun-rights activists. Source
  • Trump sends Senate fiery response to impeachment summons

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump's legal team is sending the Senate a fiery response to its impeachment summons, outlining the defences it expects to use in the upcoming trial. Trump's Saturday answer to the Senate's formal impeachment summons calls the two articles of impeachment passed by the House last month "a dangerous attack on the right of the American people to freely choose their president. Source
  • Democrats say Trump's conduct is founding fathers' 'worst nightmare'

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- WASHINGTON -- House Democrats say in a brief filed ahead of impeachment trial arguments that U.S. President Donald Trump "abandoned his oath to faithfully execute the laws and betrayed his public trust." They also called his conduct the "worst nightmare" of the country's founding fathers. Source
  • Trump recounts minute-by-minute details of Soleimani strike to donors at Mar-a-Lago

    World News CTV News
    U.S. President Trump recounted minute-by-minute details of the strike that killed Iran's top military commander during remarks to high-dollar Republican donors at his South Florida estate, according to audio obtained by CNN. Trump, speaking at a GOP fundraising dinner Friday evening, offered new details about the strike that killed Gen. Source
  • Thousands gather for Women's March rallies across the U.S.

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Thousands gathered in cities across the country Saturday as part of the nationwide Women's March rallies focused on issues such as climate change, pay equity, reproductive rights and immigration. Hundred showed up in New York City and thousands in Washington, D.C. Source
  • House Dems to outline case for removing Trump from office

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- House Democrats were preparing to outline their case for removing U.S. President Donald Trump from office in a legal brief due Saturday, as opposing sides in the impeachment case look ahead to the opening of the historic trial in the Senate. Source
  • More than 150 injured after police, protesters clash in Lebanon's capital

    World News CBC News
    Riot police fired tear gas and sprayed water cannons near parliament in Lebanon's capital Saturday to disperse thousands of protesters after riots broke out during a march against the ruling elite amid a severe economic crisis. Source