Curtis Brick's death is a reminder of Frank Paul

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      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.


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      Aug 20, 2009 at 6:37am

      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.

      MIchel T

      Aug 20, 2009 at 11:16am

      This is sad, condolences to the family.


      Aug 20, 2009 at 1:17pm

      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.


      Aug 20, 2009 at 3:14pm

      "This man died of the heat on the hottest day of the year, 20 feet from a water fountain."

      what a drunken idiot

      alive and well

      Aug 20, 2009 at 7:35pm

      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


      Aug 21, 2009 at 6:33am

      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.


      Aug 21, 2009 at 8:53am

      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?


      Aug 21, 2009 at 2:06pm

      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.

      Derrick Fernie

      Aug 21, 2009 at 3:32pm

      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.

      Derrick Fernie

      Aug 21, 2009 at 4:44pm

      why are you cenuring me