Presence of spit hood may have factored into police cell death, Halifax mother says

Presence of  spit hood  may have factored into police cell death, Halifax mother says
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The mother of a Halifax man who died while in a police cell says she believes officers use of a spit hood -- a device that covers a persons head and prevents them from spitting on police -- played a factor in her sons death.

Jeannette Rogers is now calling on the provinces justice minister to launch an official inquiry into her sons 2016 death and urging for changes in how intoxicated people are treated by law enforcement.

Corey Rogers, 41, was arrested in Halifax last June for public intoxication. Less than four hours later, he was found unresponsive in his police cell.

My son was an alcoholic. But alcoholism is an illness, Jeannette Rogers told CTV Atlantic. Its not a crime. And it certainly shouldnt be punishable by death.

Nova Scotias Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) is investigating the death.

Rogers mother says she has been shown footage from the police station of the last hours of her sons life. She says the video shows officers place a spit hood over her sons head and then move him into a cell.

Rogers says she was told her son died from asphyxiation. She believes the spit hood was a factor in his death.

If he had been conscious and coherent, he couldve taken that spit hood off himself, she said. Plus the fact that once he was in his cell, what dangers is there of him spitting on anyone?

Halifax Regional Police declined an on camera interview with CTV Atlantic, but said the officers in the prisoner care facility are provided training in the use of spit hoods.

SIRTs direct says the ongoing investigation into Rogers death is complex and it could take several months before the probe is complete.

As a result, yes, it is taking a long time, but were doing that to make sure we can come to the best conclusion we can, said Ron MacDonald, director of the serious incident response team.

The Manitoba Prosecution Service will provide legal advice on the case. The decision comes after the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution service flagged a conflict of interest.

Its important that the public have confidence in the public prosecution service, so we wanted to be sure that we protected that, said Chris Hansen of the Public Prosecution Service.

Rogers mother said its important for her to speak up and advocate on behalf of her sons case just so that things like this dont continue to happen.

Its bad enough to lose a child. But to have it happen this way and have to deal with everything that goes on about that, its excruciating, she said.

With a report from CTV Atlantics Kelland Sundahl

Corey Rogers is seen in this undated photo. He died in June 2016 after he was arrested for public intoxication.
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