Police watchdog investigating Hamilton officer who responded to Good Samaritan shooting
Al-Hasnawi, hailed as a Good Samaritan, was fatally shot in December after trying to intervene in a dispute on the street.
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.
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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.
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.
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
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