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

  • California father accused of killing son after Disneyland trip

    World News CTV News
    LOS ANGELES - Detectives believe a 5-year-old California boy who has been missing for two months was killed by his father after a family trip to Disneyland. But despite weeks of intensive searches, investigators have not yet found the boy's body. Source
  • Second landslide in a week hits village in southwest China

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING - A second landslide has struck the village in southwest China where rescue workers have been looking for nearly 100 people buried over the weekend by a massive wave of rocks and debris. Chinese state radio says the latest landslide struck the village of Xinmo in Sichuan province at around 11 a.m. Source
  • White House warns Syria's leader against chemical attack

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON - The White House issued a stern warning to Syrian President Bashar Assad on Monday night as it claimed "potential" evidence that Syria was preparing for another chemical weapons attack. In an ominous statement issued with no supporting evidence or further explanation, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the U.S. Source
  • Mom of 'Baby Doe' to be sentenced, day after boyfriend is convicted

    World News CTV News
    BOSTON - The mother of a 2-year-old girl who became known as Baby Doe after her remains washed up on a Boston Harbor island is scheduled to be sentenced. Rachelle Bond is expected to be sentenced to time served Tuesday - a day after her ex-boyfriend was convicted of second-degree murder in the girl's death. Source
  • Corruption charge increases pressure on Brazil's president

    World News CTV News
    RIO DE JANEIRO - In a scathing 64-page indictment, Brazil's top prosecutor described a scheming, arrogant and corrupt President Michel Temer who lined his pockets with illegal money while showing little regard for the office he represented. Source
  • LAPD officer had more than 100 illegal guns hidden at home: official

    World News CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A Los Angeles police officer who was arrested last week and suspected of having sex with a teenage cadet had dozens of illegal guns in his home, a law enforcement official said Monday. Source
  • White House warns Syria's Assad against chemical attack

    World News CBC News
    The White House issued a stern warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday night as it claimed "potential" evidence that Syria was preparing for another chemical weapons attack. In an ominous statement issued with no supporting evidence or further explanation, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the U.S. Source
  • Montreal's Fête nationale committee explains, apologizes for racism controversy

    Canada News CBC News
    Organizers of Montreal's Fête nationale parade are apologizing to anyone who was upset by the sight of black teens pushing floats carrying white people during Saturday's event. In a viral video showing the first float of the parade, four teens are seen pushing a float with two white performers on board, in front of a giant book that says, "Once upon a time…" in French. Source
  • CNN accepts resignations of 3 involved in retracted story

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK - CNN accepted the resignations Monday of three journalists involved in a retracted story about a supposed investigation into a pre-inaugural meeting between an associate of President Donald Trump and the head of a Russian investment fund. Source
  • White House warns of 'potential' chemical attack preparations in Syria

    World News CTV News
    FILE - In this Tuesday, April 4, 2017 file photo, victims of the suspected chemical weapons attack lie on the ground, in Khan Sheikhoun, in the northern province of Idlib, Syria. (Alaa Alyousef via AP, File) Source