The family of a Winnipeg man who died as the result of injuries he allegedly sustained after being arrested on weapon charges is suing city police and the province.
Richard Kakish, 44, died on Aug. 13, 2017, four days after he was arrested on suspicion he was carrying a firearm in a duffel bag.
According to a statement of claim filed last week, Kakish’s family is seeking $270,000 in damages, alleging police, corrections and hospital staff ignored or incorrectly interpreted signs Kakish was in medical distress following his arrest.
Winnipeg police arrested Kakish on Aug. 9, 2017, in the vicinity of Pritchard Avenue and McGregor Street.
Kakish initially ran away and when caught, officers "without justification or consent, kicked Kakish in the midsection and punched him in the head," the lawsuit alleges.
Kakish, who had dropped a duffel bag prior to capture, was unarmed, the lawsuit says.
At the police station, Kakish was taken to a holding room where, the lawsuit alleges, one of the arresting officers punched him in the midsection.
Kakish was later transported to Seven Oaks General Hospital, where he told medical staff police had assaulted him and complained of broken ribs and pain to his head and back.
He was given a chest X-ray, but an examining doctor "noted no fractures, despite fractured ribs being present," the lawsuit alleges.
Kakish was discharged and taken to the Winnipeg Remand Centre, where he again told staff he had been assaulted and complained of pain to his ribs and head and difficulty breathing. Kakish was placed in a medical wing. Ninety minutes later, he was found unresponsive with a weak pulse.
"Kakish required immediate medical attention and was in visible distress and/or continued to complain about his condition on multiple occasions," the lawsuit says.
Arriving paramedics performed chest compressions before transporting Kakish to Health Sciences Centre, where he died three days later.
An autopsy concluded Kakish’s injuries "were consistent with a powerful blow," resulting in fractures to two ribs and a laceration to his spleen, causing "slow and continued bleeding," the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit alleges paramedics were slow to transport Kakish to hospital, and that doctors failed to properly diagnose or treat his injuries.
The allegations have not been proven in court.
The Independent Investigation Unit of Manitoba, the province’s police watchdog, closed an investigation into the arresting officers’ actions after a Crown prosecutor concluded there was no reasonable likelihood of conviction.
An inquest has been called into Kakish’s death. A standing hearing was held in March, but no further dates have been set.