No charges for Hamilton cop who attended shooting of Yosif Al-Hasnawi: SIU
Ontario’s police watchdog will not be laying charges against a Hamilton police officer who responded to the death of teenager Yosif Al-Hasnawi.
In a Special Investigations Unit report released Thursday morning, director Tony Loparco concluded that the actions of the officer in question “fell within the parameters of the criminal law.”
“While it is clear that the death of the Complainant (Al-Hasnawi) was apparently not foreseeable to the SO (Subject Officer), or indeed to the majority of the witnesses at the scene, it appears that the SO’s actions were fully in accord with his responsibilities in any event,” Loparco said in his report.
Al-Hasnawi was shot while trying to help an older man who was accosted by two other men outside his Hamilton mosque near Main and Sanford Streets in December 2017.
In the SIU report, the SO reported a ‘man down’ and requested an ambulance as recorded in the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD). The officer went on to tell dispatch that a ‘BB gun’ was possibly involved and that the male had ‘minor injuries, superficial to abdomen’.
The report also says “of the 63 civilian witnesses interviewed, very few heard the actual shot, saw the impact on the Complainant, and then observed his injury. Of those, only one indicated in his statement to the police that he believed that the Complainant had actually been shot by a real firearm.”
Loparco’s report goes on to say that there “was an allegation that the police officers on scene were rude and insensitive.” Loparco responds by saying “While this behaviour, if it occurred, is far from commendable and not consistent with the sworn duties of acting police officers, neither is it criminal in nature, unless that behaviour somehow interfered with the care of the Complainant, and thereby contributed to his death.”
Hamilton police have charged 19-year-old Dale Burningsky King, with second-degree murder in Al-Hasnawi’s death. Burningsky King is still awaiting trial.
Meanwhile, 21-year-old James Matheson is out on probation after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice charges, last year.
Witnesses alleged that the responding paramedics accused Al-Hasnawi of exaggerating the extent of his injuries, and that they took too long to treat him and take him to hospital.
In the post-mortem examination on Al-Hasnawi, a forensics pathologist concluded the cause of death was “a penetrating gunshot wound of the abdomen complicated by massive blood loss.”
Niagara Regional Police were then called in to investigate the way paramedics handled the case.
Two Hamilton paramedics were later charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life to the 19-year-old Al-Hasnawi.
— With files from The Canadian Press and Nick Westoll
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