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.