August 20, 2009

Shocked Vancouverites want inquest on homeless death

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An inquest has been requested to investigate the death of 46-year-old Curtis Brick, a Vancouver homeless man who died on the hottest day of summer in Grandview Park this July, report Richard Dalton Jr. and Rebecca Tebrake in the Vancouver Sun. Many people were playing in the park that day, but no one called emergency services until Brick showed symptoms of sunstroke and began convulsing on the grass. Discrepancies in reportsof how long it took police to arrive and how they treated Brick once they were there prompted his family to ask for an investigation, according to another article by Wendy Stueck in the Globe and Mail. The case resembles that of Frank Paul, a homeless man who died after being left in an alley by police on a cold, rainy December night in 1998.

Brick’s case has caused significant alarm in Vancouver over how people treat the homeless. Some worry people are so used to seeing homeless people sleeping outside, they don’t really notice them anymore. Many people are intimidated by walking up to homeless person, according to Suzanne Noel, who is active on homeless committees and opened the first homeless service for aboriginal youth in Metro Vancouver. But if someone is in trouble, respectfully asking if they are OK and calling paramedics if necessary is the right thing to do.

Many Vancouverites turned out for Brick’s memorial, shown here.

InvestigateWest discussed the treatment of homeless people in Alaska and in California earlier this month.

– Emily Linroth

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