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Man who died after WPS arrest on bus was scared and asking for help, inquest hears

In his final moments, Michael Bagot was scared and asking for help, as video shown at an inquest into his death, and the deaths of four other men, showed Bagot frantically seeking assistance and safety on a Winnipeg Transit bus. Morgan Modjeski reports.

Michael Bagot begged for help and was scared for his life on a Winnipeg Transit bus in some of his last conscious moments four years ago.

Video shown in a Winnipeg courthouse Wednesday revealed a frantic and frightened Bagot pleading and struggling with police before being taken into custody, with his hands and feet bound by arriving officers.

Moments later, after being placed on the ground, Bagot stopped breathing. He died in hospital three days later on May 24, 2019.

The video shown was part of the ongoing inquest into the deaths of five men – Bagot, Patrick Gagnon, Sean Thompson, Matthew Fosseneuve, and Randy Cochrane – who passed away following police interactions in Winnipeg.

The inquest was ordered by the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office to determine not fault or culpability, but whether future deaths of a similar nature can be prevented.

Manitoba’s police watchdog investigated all five fatal incidents and determined officers did not contribute to any of the deaths.

In the video shown Wednesday, a panicked Bagot can be seen pleading with the driver of a bus on Provencher Boulevard to close the door to the bus, saying people with a gun were after him. Bagot repeatedly asks for the driver to “lock the door,” looking around the bus and pointing outside of it.

Officers then enter the bus and tell Bagot to put his hands up, which he does. But when they try to take him into custody and turn him around, he asks them to “hold on” as they push him against the window inside the bus. Officers tell the man to relax and stop resisting, and Bagot cries “let me go” over and over. There’s a final cry for “help” before police bring him to the floor of the bus.

Video played in court shows five officers interacting with Bagot while he is on the ground before they carry him off the bus.

WATCH: Family hopes inquest into deaths results in change of policy at Winnipeg police

Family members cried and spoke softly amongst each other in the gallery as they watched the video of their loved one’s last moments.

Bagot’s partner is set to address the judge Thursday.

Excited delirium not ‘an accurate term in medicine’

The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba attributed Bagot’s collapse to suspected excited delirium, with video of the outside of the bus showing him laying on the ground where he’s essentially motionless, with officers standing or kneeling at his side. No life-saving efforts being made until the arrival of paramedics.

Excited delirium is cited as a factor in the deaths of Bagot, Gagnon and Fosseneuve in final reports by the IIU. But it’s a diagnosis many doctors are now calling problematic.

“It’s not really an accurate term in medicine. It’s a catch-all,” said Michael Howlett, president of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians.

“The term itself doesn’t really mean anything medically.”

Last month, the American College of Emergency Room Physicians announced use of the term no longer is acceptable as its previous stance – detailed in a 2009 paper – does not align with the “most recent science and better understanding of the issues surrounding hyperactive delirium.”

The College says the term “should not be used among the wider medical and public health community, law enforcement organizations, and ACEP members acting as expert witnesses testifying in relevant civil or criminal litigation.”

Howlett feels it’s a term that should not be used in Canada either. He says there could be a variety of other, underlying circumstances or conditions that may be missed once the term is applied as a factor to a person’s death.

“The problem with the term itself is that it still begs the question as to what was the real cause and contributor to the event,” he said. “It doesn’t really speak to anything medically going on.”

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