Peace officers found guilty in prisoner death case

After three days of deliberation, a Halifax jury has found two peace officers guilty of criminal negligence causing death in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court case of Corey Rogers, a man who died in a Halifax jail cell in 2016.

The guilty verdict for Dan Fraser and Cheryl Gardner was reached unanimously. 

Rogers, 41, was arrested for public intoxication the night of June 15, 2016, and was brought to a jail cell at police headquarters to sleep it off.

During the nearly two-week trial, the jury heard that Rogers spat on the arresting officers during the drive to the police station that night, so the officers placed a spit hood — a fabric mask that covers the lower half of a person’s face — on him.

The spit hood was not removed, and Rogers died of asphyxiation, choking on his own vomit in the jail cell.

During the trial, Gardner and Fraser testified they never received training on the use of spit hoods and lacked the resources in the booking area to carry out the requirement to rouse an intoxicated person every 15 minutes to make sure they are OK.

The Crown argued Fraser and Gardner failed to fulfil their duty to care for Rogers, did not perform required checks and entered some checks in a logbook that were never performed.

Jeanette Rogers, Corey Rogers’s mother, told CBC News outside court that she wants a ban on spit hoods and that she plans to seek a provincial inquiry.

She said she was relieved by the verdict and that the trial is finally over.

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