In the period immediately following a killing by police, police agencies often resort to misinformation and distortions regarding the person they have killed and/or the circumstances surrounding the killing. This includes describing the victim as intoxicated, aggressive, angry, out of control, in distress, acting irrationally or erratically. Typically agency spokespeople are deployed to disseminate this counterinformation to the public. In the age of public video there have been important cases in which the police accounts are only discounted after bystander video becomes available.
Days after the RCMP killing of Hudson Brooks his family still had no information about the details of their loved one’s death. Further, they contested the RCMP account that Brooks was suicidal. His brother suggested that the young victim was being misrepresented and said that such public misrepresentations were hurtful to the family.
The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) reviewing the case released a statement saying: “Other than police issued equipment, nothing of significance was recovered from the scene.” This suggests Brooks was unarmed and also reinforces the belief that an officer shot at the scene was shot by a fellow RCMP (or was self inflicted). Which is, again, counter to the initial impression given by police that the cop was injured by the victim.