‘This will be my son’s legacy’

Charges laid af­ter man died in cus­tody

Metro Canada (Edmonton) - - Canada - Zane Wood­ford Metro | Halifax

Crim­i­nal charges come as a re­lief, but they’re not the end of one mother’s fight against the sys­tem that saw her son as a “nui­sance.”

Corey Rogers, 41, died in a Halifax po­lice cell in the early hours of June 16, 2016. He was ar­rested a few hours ear­lier for public drunk­en­ness out­side the IWK Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal, where his daugh­ter was born the night be­fore — his fourth child.

Af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion by Nova Sco­tia’s Se­ri­ous In­ci­dent Re­sponse Team, Halifax Re­gional Po­lice spe­cial con­sta­bles Daniel Fraser and Ch­eryl Gard­ner were in­dicted in pro­vin­cial court on Tues­day on charges of crim­i­nal neg­li­gence caus­ing Rogers’ death.

“I’m re­lieved in a way,” Rogers’ mother, Jean­nette, said Tues­day.

Jean­nette Rogers hoped three ar­rest­ing of­fi­cers would be charged as well, but the fact that charges were laid against the two book­ing of­fi­cers, she said, “speaks vol­umes to the fact that he wasn’t treated prop­erly.”

Rogers has been di­ag­nosed with post-trau­matic stress disor­der since her son’s death but plans to at­tend ev­ery hear­ing.

“It’s not just im­por­tant in the sense of ac­count­abil­ity, but it’s im­por­tant be­cause this will be my son’s legacy,” she said. “Things need to change within the sys­tem, or some other fam­ily’s go­ing to end up stand­ing where I am.”

That’s why Rogers is pur­su­ing other av­enues as well; she said she’s filed a com­plaint with the city’s Board of Po­lice Com­mis­sion­ers, asked the pro­vin­cial jus­tice depart­ment to launch an in­quiry and has be­gun the process to sue the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, seek­ing restora­tive jus­tice.

“The sys­tem saw him as a drunk and a nui­sance,” Rogers said of her son, whom she de­scribed as an al­co­holic.

“To those of us who knew and loved him, he was far more than that.”

Con­trib­uted

Corey Rogers, 41, died in a po­lice cell last year.

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