Woman shocked Winnipeg police weren’t notified after father assaulted, ‘left for dead’

By | August 29, 2020

Erica Daniels is questioning how police weren’t notified after her father was found lying in a pool of blood Tuesday morning and sent to hospital.

She also wonders whether the family would know what happened, had her grandmother not called hospitals in Winnipeg and found out he was having emergency brain surgery.

“I immediately dropped to the ground and was in tears because I thought I was losing my father,” Daniels told CBC News.

“We rushed down there and found out that he was brutally beaten, and that [hospital staff] didn’t really have any information”

Daniels’ father had visited the Green Brier Inn, a bar on Main Street, on Monday night to drink and play VLTs. He left to go home around midnight, but his girlfriend did not hear from him, Daniels said.

Her father was found lying on the corner of College Avenue and Andrews Street, near the William Whyte neighbourhood, around 7:20 a.m. Tuesday, Winnipeg police say.

The corner of College Avenue and Andrews Street, shown above, is where Daniels’ father was found Tuesday morning. (Google Street View)

The hospital could not disclose details of the man’s condition due to confidentiality, but Daniels said all his injuries were on his face and head. She was told doctors had to remove a piece of her father’s skull because his brain was swelling. 

Given the severity of her father’s injuries, Daniels waited for a call from police, assuming an investigation had begun. But no one called.

No police report

She contacted victim services late Wednesday morning to find out about the investigation, only to learn police had no record of the assault.

“I was shocked because I’m like, ‘This is serious.’ He was left for dead in a pool of blood.”

In the meantime, the family went to College and Andrews, which Daniels says is half a block away from her father’s home, to do their own sleuthing.

The Winnipeg Police Service were not made aware of the assault until Daniels called Wednesday morning. A spokesperson told CBC News that call launched the investigation currently underway. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

Spots of blood were spaced out on the ground, as if someone had been walking while dripping blood, Daniels said, and people nearby either heard or saw the ambulances Tuesday morning.

Daniels said victim services later told her where and when her father was picked up by an ambulance.

“[T]his whole situation wasn’t taken serious,” she said. “All these police were saying, ‘Oh, I have no idea how this could have happened. I have no idea why this would happen.

“I know why. It’s because you don’t care. He’s just another Indian dead in the streets of the North End.”

Daniels posted a video on Facebook on Wednesday, detailing what happened and expressing her frustration. It was shared hundreds of times.

Friends including Lisa Meeches and Colin Mousseau saw it and contacted people they knew on the force. Had that not happened, Daniels believes, the police would not be pursuing the investigation.

Daniels also thinks paramedics or hospital staff should have notified police.

What happens when you call 911

All 911 calls in Winnipeg, or nearby areas bouncing off city cell towers, enter through the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) Communications Centre.

A WPS 911 operator will determine if the emergency is within the City of Winnipeg, and whether it’s a police, fire or medical emergency, or some combination, a WPS spokesperson told CBC News in an email.

911 calls in Winnipeg go through the WPS Communications Centre before being forwarded to the appropriate emergency service. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

The 911 call made for Daniels’ father was made by a passerby. It was deemed a medical emergency and forwarded to the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service, the spokesperson said.

Once a patient is brought to hospital, staff there take over.

There are protocols in place that require hospital staff to notify police in certain instances, like when a patient arrives with a gunshot wound, or their injuries appear to be the result of domestic violence, said a spokesperson for Manitoba Shared Health, which handles media relations for HSC.

CBC News asked if it would be up to the judgment of hospital staff to notify police about someone presenting injuries like those sustained by Daniels’ father. Shared Health did not reply as of late Friday night.

There are instances where hospital staff must notify police, but CBC News did not hear back about whether the protocols applied to Daniels’ father. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Unconscious patients are usually identified before arriving at hospital, either by 911 dispatch, police or the WFPS. If that doesn’t happen, clinical staff will try to identify the patient and contact their family, the spokesperson said.

There are multiple reasons why a patient is not identified or their family contacted, they added, like a patient not carrying ID, not having emergency contact information on their person or in their medical file, or having emergency contact info that’s out of date.

The Winnipeg Police Service’s Major Crimes Unit is now on the case. Investigators believe the assault happened sometime between midnight and 7:20 a.m. on Aug. 25, when Daniels’ father was walking home from the bar.

Daniels says she doesn’t know why her father would have been attacked. 

He appears to be recovering well, but the extent of the damage won’t be known until he wakes from his coma, his daughter said.

The family has been staying at the hotel attached to the HSC since Tuesday. They have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to possibly stay longer, and to move Daniels’ father’s belongings from his home into storage.

Police and the family are asking anyone with information to call investigators at (204) 986-6219 or Crime Stoppers at (204) 786-8477.

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