Family of Yosif Al-Hasnawi suing paramedics, police for $10M

The family of a Good Samaritan who was fatally shot in downtown Hamilton last month is suing the city's paramedics, among others, for $10 million, saying their failure to properly treat Yosif Al-Hasnawi contributed to his death.

Claim says Hamilton paramedics' failure to treat him properly contributed to his death

Yosif Al-Hasnawi, 19, was shot and killed in Hamilton in December. His family is suing paramedics, police and St. Joseph's Healthcare for $10 million. (Al-Mostafa Islamic Centre)

The family of a Good Samaritan who was fatally shot in downtown Hamilton last month is suing the city's paramedics, among others, for $10 million, saying their failure to properly treat Yosif Al-Hasnawi contributed to his death. 

The family is also suing the Hamilton police and the hospital where he died, St. Joseph's Healthcare. 

Al-Hasnawi, 19, was shot on Dec. 2 near his Hamilton mosque. It took paramedics 38 minutes from the time they arrived to transport him to hospital. 

Witnesses say paramedics told him he was acting, and that he'd been shot by a pellet gun. Niagara Regional Police and the province are investigating.

Yosif's father, Majed Al-Hasnawi, right, talks to MP Filomena Tassi at a December memorial. (Laura Clementson/CBC)

A statement of claim filed in a Hamilton court this month 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. 

It also says they didn't properly relay information to St. Joseph's Healthcare. Al-Hasnawi was taken to the downtown hospital, rather than the regional trauma centre at Hamilton General Hospital, which was closer. 

The plaintiffs — Al-Hasnawi's father Majed, and his teen brothers Madhi, 15, and Ahmed, 13 — say the actions of emergency responders that night have caused them loss of income, nightmares, anxiety, "extreme mental and emotional distress" and the loss of his companionship.

They describe, in the claim, watching Al-Hasnawi "lying on the pavement in pain, holding his stomach and with a clear and visible bloody shotgun wound."

The family is also suing for his funeral costs. 

None of the claims have been proven in court.

The City of Hamilton, which operates Hamilton's paramedic service, is preparing a statement of defence, said spokesperson Allison Jones.

"We continue to work closely with Niagara Regional Police and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to preserve the integrity of all investigative processes currently underway," she said.

Hamilton Police Service wouldn't comment, citing the ongoing lawsuit. St. Joseph's Healthcare, through spokesperson Maria Hayes, said the hospital received the statement of claim Friday and "will be reviewing it."

Firas Al Najim, a human rights activist, left, and Yosif's younger brother, Ahmed Al-Hasnawi, hold a photo of Yosif at a December memorial. (Laura Clementson/CBC)

Suspects also sued

Yosif 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., ET 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, faces second-degree murder charges. James Matheson, 20, is charged with being an accessory to murder after the fact. Both are also named in the lawsuit.

'Terrible agony'

Since he was 10, Al-Hasnawi contributed money to the household, the claim says. He fixed electronics and helped pay for rent, food, utilities and other expenses.

He planned to be a doctor, the claim says, and was a pre-med student at Brock University when he died. He planned to keep living with his family once he was a doctor, it says, so he could help them have "a comfortable standard of living."

His family members have "recurring ruminations over the horrible way the late Yosif Al-Hasnawi met his death, the terrible agony he endured before perishing," it says. 

The suit, filed through Toronto lawyer Susan von Achten, also lists unnamed crew members and police constables.  

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