Man who died in Halifax police custody was too drunk to remove spit hood
HALIFAX -- A medical examiner told a Halifax jury that a man who died in a police holding cell was too drunk to remove his spit hood.
Two special constables are on trial for criminal negligence in the death of Corey Rogers, who died after he was arrested outside the IWK Health Centre on June 15, 2016.
The court has heard Rogers was at the hospital earlier that day with his girlfriend and newborn baby.
When he returned later that evening, security officers at the hospital testified they would not let him upstairs to visit his child because he was intoxicated.
Rogers was arrested outside the hospital and taken into custody where he was placed in a jail cell with a spit hood on.
He was later found dead in the early morning hours of June 16, 2016 in the same cell.
Cheryl Gardner and Daniel Fraser were booking officers working the night Rogers died and are each facing a charge of criminal negligence causing death.
Both have pleaded not guilty.
Dr. Marnie Wood took the stand Wednesday afternoon. Wood is a medical examiner and performed an autopsy on Rogers.
She told the jury the cause of death was asphyxia due to suffocation.
Wood says she reached that conclusion following an autopsy and watching a video of the jail cell.
She determined Rogers was in a facedown position and that vomit would have filled the spit hood, blocking his airways.
The court heard Rogers' blood alcohol concentration was 0.367, which is four times greater than the legal limit.
Wood said the fatal range for alcohol is considered between .5 and .73, but did note Rogers' level of intoxication prevented him from being able to remove the spit hood after he vomited.
Late Wednesday afternoon, the court started to hear testimony from a member of the Serious Incident Response Team, who investigated the matter and laid charges against Gardner and Fraser. In total, 10 days have been set aside to for the trial. Testimony is scheduled to resume Thursday morning.