Family critical of police for allowing crime scene photos to be taken

first_imgTamara Pimentel APTN National News Ann Jirousek describes her niece as a wild bird. Beautiful, wild, free-spirited, strong and brave.That’s how the family of Tara Tailfeathers want to remember the 36-year-old.They’ve been losing sleep. Not only from the shock of Tailfeathers’s sudden death – but from the images of her found online, that followed days later.“Every time I closed my eyes. All I would see, is this image of her on the floor of her apartment,” said Elle-Maija Tailfeathers.Tara Tailfeathers was a member of the Blood Tribe in Alberta.She was found dead in her Calgary apartment on April 3 of a drug overdose.Photos of the incident were found on multiple websites three days later.A photo of her identification, the scene being searched by emergency medical services, and a photo of her, laying on the floor of her room just as she was found.Jirousek came across the photos while searching her niece’s name online.“I thought, that can’t be Tara. It can’t be Tara,” she said.A man named Jerzy Babkowski, who lived upstairs from Tailfeathers told APTN that he was the one who took the photos.He denied posting them online but wasn’t clear on how they got there.Babkowski said he was a friend of Tailfeathers, and that on April 3, Tailfeathers’s boyfriend asked him to check on her since he hadn’t heard from her for days.That’s when he found Tailfeathers’s body, called 911 and snapped some photos of her.When EMS arrived, Bobkowski continued taking photos.“Why was this man allowed in? Why were these pictures allowed to be taken? It hurts because aboriginal women are treated in such a manor,” said Jirousek. “They didn’t treat her like she had any dignity left.”The Tailfeathers family said they blame Calgary police for allowing Babkowski on the scene.They believe her death wasn’t handled properly because she is an Indigenous woman.But police say those photos were taken prior to their arrival.“When the police arrived, we removed him up to the second floor of the residence,” said Inspector Terry Larson.APTN asked EMS what their protocol is in these situations.“While we strongly support the respectful treatment of anyone in our care, paramedics have no policing authority to physically intervene in any circumstance,” EMS said in a statement.Calgary Police said Babkowski did nothing illegal.“We’ve looked at any charges that may be applicable with the crown and the crown says there is no criminal offense that has been committed.”For the family of Tara Tailfeathers the nightmare is far from over. Cousin, Elle-Maija says the memories of her cousin has been tainted.“The photos are horrific. I don’t want to have to remember my cousin that way. No one should ever have to see their loved ones in that way.”[email protected]last_img

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