Curtis Brick's death is a reminder of Frank Paul

The president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs has compared the death of Curtis Brick with that of Frank Paul. Like Paul, a Mi’kmaq man who was left in an alley by a Vancouver police officer in December 1998, Brick didn’t receive proper help because he was Native, according to Grand Chief Stewart Phillip. Brick is an aboriginal man who died last month after lying in the sun in an East Vancouver park on one of the hottest days ever recorded in the city.

“Clearly what was responsible for the death of Frank Paul was the undeniable systemic racism that exists within the criminal justice system,” Phillip told the Straight. “And similarly, what contributed to the death of Mr. Brick was the same systemic racism that exists within the emergency-care services that failed to provide the adequate level of service to Mr. Brick in order to save his life.”

Jenifer Brousseau-Mallett was one of two people who tried to revive the unconscious Brick in Grandview Park on the afternoon of July 29.

Two Vancouver firefighters arrived 45 minutes after Brousseau-Mallett made a 911 call. According to the aboriginal outreach worker, a firefighter used his boot to push Brick, and yelled, “Get up!”

Paramedics arrived later, and handled Brick very roughly, Brousseau-Mallett said. She recalled that the oxygen mask they put on Brick hit his nose, causing it to bleed profusely.

“They didn’t treat him the way they would treat their grandmother or their mother if she was in that situation,” Brousseau-Mallett told the Straight. According to her, Brick “was just treated like another drunk Indian”.

An account of the incident released by the Vancouver Aboriginal Transformative Justice Services Society on August 14 noted that the ambulance that took Brick to the hospital didn’t put on its flashing lights.

It’s not clear when Brick died.

Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services would welcome an investigation, according to assistant chief for communications Steve Laleune.

Laleune told the Straight that the firefighters who responded followed the appropriate protocol, and that neither one reported that they had put their boots on Brick.

Neither the B.C. Ambulance Service nor Local 873 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, which represents paramedics, returned calls by deadline.

Comments (22) Add New Comment
Sk
Of course they wouldn't report putting their boots to someone, particullarly someone who is barely conscious. It looks really bad, and not part of protocol, and their not prone to tellling on themselves. I worked in the Downtown Eastside for 16 years and I saw people thrown around, dragged across cold pavement, and yes, boots to the chest. Get your cell-phones out people, the only way they will believe anyone is if they can see it.
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MIchel T
This is sad, condolences to the family.
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cm
a few years ago i came across a man laying unconscious on a bike path in grandview area. it was early morning and i called 911 from local business. it took ambulance 15 minutes to get there and i saw one of the attendants walk up to the man and nudge him with his boot -- and say something to the effect of wake up.... which fortunately the man did. only then did they bend down and touch him with a gloved hand. that same year i came across another man on path leading down to VCC station and reported it to the transit cops who were the station. they did nothing but make a disparaging remark about this being only a victim of too much partying the night before. i don't know why we bother to call 911 or try to get cops to do anything in the first place if this is the reaction we get.
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cashking
"This man died of the heat on the hottest day of the year, 20 feet from a water fountain."

what a drunken idiot
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alive and well
the news made him out to be some sort nice guy ,that he cried for his children,he hadnt seen them in 11 years,yes he did break his back at work and was compensated 40 grand,then cracked it all away not once getting a hold of his 2 children who did cry for him when didnt show up on sceuld vists,he was homless because of his own doing
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Turbo
I'd rather nudge someone with my foot first than bend down attempt to wake him and get punched, spit on, or worse. People under the influence of drugs and booze are extremely unpredictable. So all you folks sitting behind the safety of your keyboard judging emergency workers should maybe sign up and do a ride along and see what it like in the real world.
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rin
How about some compassion here for someone who died? I'm pretty sure most of the disparaging commentors on here have probably been blind drunk a few times in their life. What if you passed out in a park and this happened to you? People don't just develop alcoholism and become homeless for no reason -- this was a person with a family and a story, a whole history and set of reasons why they were in these circumstances. People protected by their own privilege blaming the victims of these sorts of situations is a big part of what perpetuates these cycles.

Besides, if you're afraid to touch people except with your boots, maybe being an emergency worker isn't the job for you?
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C-EastVan
There's no doubt, this is a sad way to die.

But it sure doesn't help that all we get from the UBCIC is a cartoonish and ultimately self-defeating cry of "racism." That's no way to start trying to solve the problem... unless of course, your agenda is to perpetuate it because there's profit in being a victim. Where is the UBCIC when it comes to "collecting" the mentally ill and addicted, housing them, and rehabilitating them? Do they intervene to rescue the Frank Pauls of the world? And if they do, have they taken responsibility for failing? What will they do differently to avoid failure?

Unfortunately, the sight of someone passed out on the grass in that park is not unusual. Accusing emergency workers of being racist because they nudged him with their boot ignores the fact that they probably have good reason, based on experience, to be careful when they approach someone who appears to be unconscious, particularly if there might be narcotics or alcohol involved. Does anyone thank these professionals for the thousands of successes they have? Can someone point me to the UBCIC sending a letter of appreciation to the Fire Department, or the Police Department, or the EMTs, for jobs well done?

The larger problem -- the one that transcends color of skin and cultural heritage -- is that even though we spend a lot of money, we have ineffective ways of dealing with mental illness and addiction problems. We have lots of people who are compassionate, but few willing or able to take the risks of making hard-nosed decisions for people who are evidently unable to make self-preserving decisions for themselves. It's easier just to bury them.
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Derrick Fernie
This is meant for the morons.This man started out a working man he was a injured worker and you say he got 40,000 dollars for his injury and how do you know that. Exactly how long do you think that will last you in todays economy This man was suffering cronic pain do you have any idea what that means some people can live with it and some cannot but we deal with your garbage attitude every day until you get hurt then it changes yah all of a sudden you understand then you start to deal with claims adjudicators that will lie and cheat you out of everything you own they destroy your life and then your on welfare and if thats not enough to shut you up they will cut you off that this is nothing short of systematic state run murder By the way morons i was a Ticket tradesman 4 years trades school got hurt working for local company they blacklisted me End of career and i have them all on tape doing it but still nothing done why because the stinking goverment is involved in it.them lawyers Doctors unions are all stakeholders in this corrupt system.
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Derrick Fernie
why are you cenuring me
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beelzebub
Methinks the cry of racism and antipathy towards natives is wearing out. With new subdivisions of homes going up on reserves like the one in North Vancouver, you cannot tell me the Band could afford a few bucks to treat the addicted?
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Melinda F
This breaks my heart that Curtis had to be dying in a park for anyone to notice him. What happened to all the other times of people just passing by him or any other homeless person on the street? What is interesting here is people are so good at pointing the finger at homeless society, but will not get their hands dirty to help out. The usual excuse by people, "it does not effect me, so why bother!" You will never know how homelessness effects you until you know someone or a family member is in this situation.

This is not a racism thing, this is a human being issue. Homelessness does not care about the color of your skin or your ethnicity group. There are reports and reports on the internet of homeless people being beaten, put on fire, ridiculed by the younger generation who have been protected in the unrealistic world created by their parents. Who puts those thoughts in their heads, bigots of ignorant generations.

I was sick to my stomach when a homeless man (John Robert Graham)in Los Angeles was set on fire for no reason at all last October. Is this what the young generation has come too? Is this what our society has come too? Thank goodness the police found the person responsible and emergency response was quick in getting to the scene. Even though John did not survive, people where there to help. (Shame on the EMT, fire & police of Vancouver. Oh that's right, you should have a Chief Bratton crawling up your backside to make a difference in a city.)
There are only a handful out of the millions of people in the U.S. and Canada who are willing to help; create drop in centers; establish self help programs; and what do they lack, VOLUNTEERS!!!!! Think about it.....
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TigerWoodsRocks
This dreadful death is real, it has occurred, and is now in past. But I can see how the downfall of Mr. Brick was attributed to many factors. Of those factors, family or even community factors should not be overtly blamed or highlighted. Certainly, any person with addiction should have at least one family member whom loves them and wishes them to be rid of whatever insidious addiction they may have. From experience, the family may know that trying their best to help their afflicted loved one, may be blocked by that loved one’s denial of problem or insatiable appetite of the addiction and lifestyle. Even though the afflicted person may know they need the help, the addiction may be stronger than whatever bond they may have with their family – ominous to be sure. The addiction may provide for immediate irresistible physiological/psychological relief. A path of least resistance, which may be far better than anything a family member or treatment could provide, at least in the eyes of the afflicted loved one. Sort of like someone slapping you in the face for your own good. You do not want the slap in the face, even though you need it and desire it, because that slap in the face would be too unpleasant and onerous. So the less resisted kiss on the lips may suffice in lieu of the slap – too hard to resist the kiss, to the demise of the unfortunate soul. Of course, what do I know?
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Lizotte Family
Our condolences to the Brick family, from Wendy Lizotte and family.
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rin
I'm amazed at how the hate-filled rants and "racism is over" statementes are getting all the good votes and all the compassionate comments are being shot down. Is that really what's happening here? Ask yourselves, is that the kind of community we want to live in?

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Engine
I think the biggest similarity this story has to the Frank Paul case is that it displays quite clearly the thinking that many people have about indians.

Stop the Recognition and Reconciliation Act. Nothing has changed.
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Cree
The way racism works here is its is completely integrated into daily life. There are a few obvious racists that use the words but most just assume a lot quietly without consideration. Like alcoholism, unreliability, criminality (to name few) just something that is not white. Sound familiar?

It is felt. My point is that it is a constant fight. I can see how a person can lose hope because of the hatred and be left for dead because for some reason for indians in this culture (we share with everyone here) its allowable for us to lose hope and be left for dead. It's like we all came to some agreement about how indians behave, what we do and what is normal for us.

I guess just try to imagine that Curtis Brick was just a person and there were no excuses or justifications (poverty, broken homes, whatever it is you think indians do) to be made for why he should end up there. Imagine he was a white young suburban healthy man. Can you imagine people ignoring him being alone and drunk in the first place let alone nudging him with their boot when he is lying flat instead of a hand? Can you imagine him being dumped in an alley in the winter in the rain?

The same hatred and the same expectations is what I sense when I tell people I'm not Greek, Spanish, Italian, or whatever brownish race they think an employed successful person could be. So far no one has guessed Cree.
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Highway of Tears
An unsolved series of murders and disappearances of young women in the vicinity of Highway 16 has earned the route the nickname the "Highway of Tears". Since 1988, at least 32 women, 31 of them aboriginal, have been killed or suspiciously disappeared along the 800-kilometre (500-mile) section of highway between Prince George and Prince Rupert. These crimes have remained largely uninvestigated.
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tim
new him from aldergrove agood bud..
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Salishan
wow, someone is spending a lot of time to come back in to this site to post a negative. Not THAT many can disagree with comments supporting a man mistreated in such a fashion before he died. Grow up
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