As final arguments close in trial for Corey Rogers’ death, his mother says Halifax police failed her son

The mother of a man who died in Halifax police custody three years ago says that the force failed her son.

Jeannette Rogers spoke to reporters as lawyers wrapped up their final arguments on Thursday.

Special Const. Cheryl Gardner and Special Const. Daniel Fraser are on trial at Nova Scotia Supreme Court for criminal negligence causing the death of Corey Rogers on June 16, 2016.

Special constables are civilians appointed to specialized duties, including the booking of prisoners.

Rogers admits her son battled with alcoholism and was well-known to police, but says he didn’t deserve to die in a Halifax jail cell.

“It happened once. It can happen again,” she said.

Defence lawyers for Gardner and Fraser told the jury on Thursday that the booking officers were innocent because they lacked the proper training and that there was no policy when it came to the use of spit hoods.

Rogers was carried into the booking by the arresting officers who laid him on the floor at about 11 p.m. on June 15.

The Halifax resident was in custody for being drunk in a public place after he rapidly downed a half-bottle of whiskey outside a children’s hospital the day after his child was born.

He was placed in a holding cell. His handcuffs were removed but a spit hood placed over his face remained.

Fraser and Gardner said they had never removed a spit hood from a prisoner.

Fraser said that prisoners usually removed it themselves, while Gardner believed there was no danger in wearing one — despite a warning on the package.

A medical examiner told the court that Corey Rogers died from asphyxiation due to suffocation from vomit that was trapped in the spit hood he was wearing.

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