Winnipeg police apologize, confirm officer snapped photo while dealing with intoxicated man

A spokesperson for the Winnipeg Police Service offered an apology Wednesday over the actions of an officer that sparked criticism online.

A photo of police officers and paramedics with a man on a bench circulated widely on social media after it was posted by Justin Highway, who told CTV News he took the photo after he saw an officer take a picture of the man.

“Just standing around there, laughing away there, I saw that lady cop holding her phone, I believe she was trying to take a picture,” said Highway, in a phone call with CTV News earlier this week.

“They shouldn’t be doing that, there wasn’t an ambulance around at that time.”

On Monday police said the officers were there to transport the man to the Main Street Project as per the Intoxicated Persons Detention Act of Manitoba.

On Wednesday Const. Rob Carver said they’ve confirmed that an officer’s phone was used to take a photo at the scene.

“We apologize to this individual,” said Carver. “We know that citizens of Winnipeg expect us to treat everyone with dignity and respect and they deserve nothing less.”

Carver said police have met with the man in the photo and spoken with him and “this incident will be addressed through our regulatory process.”

He also said that while the photo Highway shared of the scene wasn’t in itself concerning, his account of what happened was.

“The photo itself is pretty innocuous, it’s the story behind it, that’s the reason I’m standing here in front of you,” said Carver.