HAMILTON — Two Hamilton paramedics have been charged in connection with the death of a 19-year-old Good Samaritan who police say was killed while trying to stop an altercation late last year.
Yosif Al-Hasnawi — described by police as a brave young man trying to do the right thing — was shot on Dec. 2, 2017 after he tried to help an older man who was being accosted by two men outside his mosque.
Hamilton police charged one man with second degree murder and another with accessory after the fact in Al-Hasnawi's death. Niagara regional police were then called in to investigate the way paramedics handled the case.
Witnesses alleged healthcare responders accused Al-Hasnawi of acting like his wounds were worse than they were, and that paramedics took too long to treat and transport the young man to hospital.
It was very disturbing...the way they treated a person who was in such a bad, severe situation and expressing his pain.Firas Al Najim, family friend
After a seven-month investigation, two paramedics were arrested this week, police said.
"This was a very difficult and challenging case for our investigators,'' Niagara regional police Chief Brryan MacCullock said in a statement. "While our investigation has concluded, we recognize that this continues to be a very tragic situation for the family of the deceased and our thoughts and condolences certainly go out to them.''
Steven Snively, 53, and Christopher Marchant, 29, have been charged with failure to provide necessaries of life. They were both released on a promise to appear in Hamilton court on Sept. 11, police said.
Mario Posteraro, president of Ontario Public Service Employees Union Local 256, said in an email that the paramedics "are intent on vigorously defending against these criminal charges'' and that the union is confident the pair will be vindicated "when the totality of the evidence is provided.''
The Hamilton Paramedic Service said it was in the process of completing its own investigation into the matter and said it couldn't comment further.
Family launched lawsuit
Al-Hasnawi's father and two brothers filed a civil lawsuit in January against Hamilton's paramedics, alleging they failed to properly treat the man and claiming that their family suffered extreme emotional and mental distress.
The lawsuit also names Hamilton police, St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and the two men charged in the shooting.
A statement of claim provided by the family's lawyer alleges that paramedics and police were negligent and incompetent when they failed to administer first aid or promptly transfer him to hospital. Allegations contained in the lawsuit seeking $10 million in compensation have not been proven in court.
Family friend Firas Al Najim said Al-Hasnawi's father has expressed relief at the charges against the paramedics.
"The paramedics are there to deal with you at a time of emergency...and you rely on them,'' he said. "It was very disturbing...the way they treated a person who was in such a bad, severe situation and expressing his pain.''
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