Hamilton

5 months later, the questions about paramedics' treatment of Yosif Al-Hasnawi unresolved

Niagara police say a "team of detectives" is busy looking into whether paramedics broke the law in their treatment of Yosif Al-Hasnawi.

Three different agencies are examining how paramedics treated the 19-year-old

Yosif Al-Hasnawi, 19, was shot and killed in Hamilton last December as he tried to break up a fight, police said. (Al-Mostafa Islamic Centre)

Investigators probing the actions of Hamilton paramedics in treating shooting victim Yosif Al-Hasnawi have spoken to witnesses and family members.

But five months after the 19-year-old so-called Good Samaritan was shot and killed, none of the three agencies investigating paramedics' handling of his injuries have concluded their investigations.

Niagara police say a "team of detectives" is busy looking into whether paramedics broke the law in their treatment of Yosif Al-Hasnawi.

Al-Hasnawi was shot and killed in Hamilton on Dec. 2, 2017. From the time paramedics arrived until they left to take him to the hospital, 38 minutes passed. Witnesses say the paramedics told him he was faking it and had been shot with a pellet gun.

Niagara Regional Police has been investigating the paramedic conduct since late December, handed the case from Hamilton police to avoid any perceived conflict. That's still going on, Niagara police spokesperson Stephanie Sabourin said Monday. 

"We have assembled a team of experienced detectives from across the Niagara Police Service," she said.

The police investigation is just one of three into the conduct of paramedics, and authorities assure all three are still happening.

The Ministry of Health is conducting an investigation, and the city says it's cooperating. The city is doing its own investigation, timing the interviews around the other two investigations, said spokesperson Allison Jones.

The city won't say if any paramedics have been disciplined or fired.

Majed Al-Hasnawi, Yosif's father, said he's been contacted by police, the ministry and paramedic services. He's not concerned with how long the investigation is taking.

"They didn't delay for no reason," he said. As for the family, "we are doing OK," but "we suffer a lot."

Amin Al-Tahir, a director at the Al-Mostafa Islamic Centre, says investigators have contacted witnesses at the Al-Moustafa Islamic Centre near where Al-Hasnawi was shot. Al-Tahir said he's not concerned about the timeline either.

Mosque members are healing from the incident, he said. "They're taking it step by step, day by day."

​Meanwhile, Majed Al-Hasnawi and Yosif's two teen brothers are suing the city, police and St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton for $10 million. The lawsuit also names the two men facing charges related to his death. St. Joseph's says it's not responsible. The others have not yet filed statement of defences.

Family and friends of Yosif Al-Hasnawi are seen performing final rites before his burial in Najaf, Iraq in December. (Mazen Al Zurufi/Facebook)

A statement of claim filed in a Hamilton court in January says paramedics didn't properly treat Al-Hasnawi at the scene, didn't provide first aid, and didn't put him in the ambulance fast enough. 

Al-Hasnawi was participating in a religious celebration at the Al-Moustafa Islamic Centre on Main Street East on Dec. 2 when, around 9 p.m., he walked outside with his younger brother.

He saw two men "accosting" an older man, police say. He intervened, and that turned the culprits' attention to Al-Hasnawi.

The situation moved roughly half a block east, to Sanford Avenue, where Al-Hasnawi was shot, police say.

Dale Burningsky King, 19, will appear in court again May 31 on second-degree murder charges. His lawyer says he will plead not guilty. James Matheson, 20, is charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact.

About the Author

Samantha Craggs is a CBC News reporter based in Hamilton, Ont. She has a particular interest in politics and social justice stories, and tweets live from Hamilton city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca