August 24, 2018 12:18 pm

Police watchdog investigating Hamilton officer who responded to Good Samaritan shooting

WATCH ABOVE (Aug. 2): It's an unprecedented move in Canada. Two Hamilton, Ontario paramedics have been charged in the 2017 death of Yosif Al-Hasnawi, 19.

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Weeks after two Hamilton paramedics were charged in connection with the death of Yosif Al-Hasnawi, Ontario’s police watchdog says it’s now investigating the conduct of a Hamilton police officer.

Al-Hasnawi, hailed as a Good Samaritan, was fatally shot in December after trying to intervene in a dispute on the street.

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READ MORE: 2 Hamilton paramedics charged with failing to provide necessaries of life after Good Samaritan dies

In a statement on Friday, the Special Investigations Unit said it began looking into the case to see if it fell within its mandate, given allegations regarding the actions of first responders including police officers.

Witnesses present on the night of the shooting questioned the response by Hamilton paramedics and claimed the ambulance took a long time to arrive. They also said the paramedics didn’t appear to take the injuries seriously.

WATCH: Police arrest suspect in shooting death of Hamilton teen

The agency said that based on its preliminary inquiries and medical evidence, an investigation has been opened into the role of a Hamilton police officer. Two other Hamilton police officers are witnesses, the SIU said.

The agency did not name the officer and no charges have been laid.

READ MORE: Man charged in Yosif Al-Hasnawi shooting case released on bail

Dale Burningsky King is charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of Al-Hasnawi. James Anthony Robert Matheson is facing a charge of obstruction of justice in the case.

Al-Hasnawi, a 19-year-old Brock University student and aspiring doctor, was leaving the Al-Mostafa Islamic Centre mosque in central Hamilton on the evening of Dec. 2 when he and a friend saw two men verbally harassing an older man. Al-Hasnawi tried to intervene and was subsequently shot. He was taken to hospital and died a short time later.

READ MORE: 2 Hamilton paramedics charged after Good Samaritan died have been fired: union

Niagara regional police launched a criminal investigation into the response by paramedics later that month. Three weeks ago, two paramedics, 53-year-old Steven Snively and 29-year-old Christopher Marchant were arrested and charged with failure to provide necessaries of life.

They have since been fired, according to the union representing Hamilton paramedics.

The SIU is an arms-length agency mandated to investigate injuries, deaths, or allegations of sexual assault involving police officers.

— With files from Nick Westoll, Global News

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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