Hamilton fires paramedics charged in Good Samaritan's death

Hamilton fires paramedics charged in Good Samaritan's death

Two Hamilton paramedics who face charges in the death of a 19-year-old Good Samaritan have been fired by the city, according to their union.

Chris Marchant and Steve Snively answered a Dec. 2, 2017 call in Hamilton's central lower city, where Yosif Al-Hasnawi had been shot. 

Al-Hasnawi died in hospital about an hour later. Bystanders said at the time that police and paramedics didn't seem to treat his injury with enough urgency.

Police have since charged Snively, 53, of Hamilton, and Marchant, 29, of Whitby, with failing to provide the necessaries of life.

Mario Posteraro, president of OPSEU Local 256, said Wednesday that they've also been fired, and that the union will file a grievance over the "harsh and unjust action."

"The employer had a number [of] options it could have exercised while the criminal charges were being dealt with through the courts. Instead, they decided to throw two of their paramedics under the bus," he said in a statement.

The city wouldn't confirm or deny the firing. But in a statement, acting chief Russell Crocker said the city had wrapped up its own investigation. 

"As the matter is now before the courts and potentially involves both human resource and labour relations issues, we will not be providing details on the status of employment of the affected paramedics," he said. 

The city wouldn't say when — or if — the details of that investigation will be made public.

'Finding fault'
But Posteraro said the investigation seemed more focused on "finding fault, not on finding facts."

And, he said, it sends the message to paramedics that "bad patient outcomes may not only result in criminal charges, but now, termination of employment as well."

The Ontario Ministry of Health is also investigating. Niagara police did the criminal investigation, which didn't include how Hamilton police officers responded at the scene.

Al-Hasnawi's father and brothers, meanwhile, are suing the Hamilton Police Service, the paramedic service and St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton.

The lawsuit also includes two men charged in Al-Hasnawi's death — Dale Burningsky King, 19, and James Matheson, 20. King is charged with second-degree murder, and Matheson with being an accessory after the fact.

None of the charges has been proven in court.

Al-Hasnawi's death has sparked broad public interest. Police say Al-Hasnawi, who was a Brock University medical sciences student, intervened when an older man was being accosted. He and his brother had just stepped outside the Al-Moustafa Islamic Centre, where they'd been participating in a religious ceremony.

The intervention, police say, caused the perpetrators to turn their attention to Al-Hasnawi.