EXCLUSIVE: Cleveland officer at center of investigation over crime scene photo of school gunman 10/19/2007 CLEVELAND OH-- When the Cleveland Police gathered the first responders to the school shooting in one room, the purpose was to tell their story of heroics.
The Chief was proud of everyone who raced to the 4th floor of SuccessTech and put themselves in the path of Asa Coon, the gunman who was shooting at teachers and students.
In the minutes after police made it to the 4th floor and discovered Asa Coon had committed suicide, sources in the department say a police officer, Walter Emerick--in the video clip the one seated to the right back of your screen, admitted to other police-- he took a photo of Coon's body with his mobile phone.
"The reasons, the motives for doing so remains at this point unclear but he acknowledges his culpability and again there will be consequences for his actions," said Martin Flask, Cleveland Safety Director.
The Safety Director won't talk about the specifics of the internal investigation.
However a crime scene photo of Coon taken after his death ended up posted on roverradio-dot-com, the website of the morning DJ on radio station 92.3.
The Chief's pride in his officers turned into questions about which one took the picture and why, especially since he ruled out a student took it.
"We were able to rule it out and positively identify a Cleveland Police Officer who took the photograph at the scene and disseminate it through the use of his cellular telephone" said Flask.
We tried talking to Emerick. He wasn't home and he was not scheduled to work out of the 3rd District Friday. However he is still on the job. The Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association is standing by him.
"The officer involved has been forthcoming in his role in this. It's unfortunate it got out to a media outlet but there was nothing malicious done by anyone in this department to get it there," said Steve Loomis, C.P.P.A. President.
The police union says there are reasons for officers to take crime scene photos. The officer reportedly said it was done to preserve the crime scene. That of course will be up the Chief to decide when he weighs all the facts of this internal investigation.
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