Serious Questions in Police Killing of Hudson Brooks: Disturbing Silence by RCMP

Six weeks after the RCMP killing of Surrey youth Hudson Brooks (who turned 20 shortly before he was shot by police) serious, and troubling, questions remain about police actions and the situation surrounding the killing. Brooks was shot by an RCMP officer outside of a community policing office in South Surrey, BC in circumstances that have not yet been properly explained.

Police initially claimed that Brooks was suicidal, but have offered nothing to suggest this was actually the case, and made statements implying that an officer had been injured by Brooks in some sort of confrontation. This latter insinuation has been discredited by forensic evidence at the scene which found only police issue equipment.

The only information provided by police is sketchy and unverified. Police suggest that a “call for service” involving a “suicidal” man apparently screaming and in some distress in the area of the 1800-block of 152nd Street in Surrey. Officers from the community office responded, located Hudson Brooks, and in some sort of struggle shots were fired. Hudson Brooks was shot multiple times and died.

His mother wants answers and is working to get them: “This is my campaign for justice for Hudson. I will never stop nor rest until I receive justice, and justice means I want these officers charged. They cannot just shoot a young man and just walk away, badge or no badge” (quoted in Saltman 2015).

Family and friends dispute the police depiction of Brooks and his emotional state. The day that Brooks was killed he was going to the beach to be with friends, something he regularly did on weekends and was reported to be in good spirits. His mother calls police claims that Brooks was suicidal “completely untrue” and “a false accusation” (Saltman 2015). She says instead: “My son loved life. He lived life to the fullest, he was happy” (quoted in Saltman 2015). She wants to know what really happened and why. She wants to know why lethal force was deployed apparently so quickly and in the absence of non-lethal options. And, above all, she wants accountability.

Family, friends, and supporters are organizing a community march for September 26, 2015 to honor Hudson and others killed through interaction with police. The march will begin at 152nd Street and 16th Avenue in Surrey and continue along 152nd Street to around 24th Avenue. Marchers intend to gather at the memorial in front of the South Surrey RCMP office. Sweatshirts, stickers, and bracelets with the slogan “#JusticeForHudson” are also being produced and distributed by supporters.

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is still investigating the shooting. The RCMP report that the “subject officer” is currently on administrative duties.

References

Saltman, Jennifer. 2015. “Devastated Mom Demands Justice in Shooting Death of 20-Year Old Hudson Brooks in South Surrey.” September 2. http://www.theprovince.com/news/devastated+demands+justice+police+shooting+death+year/11333266/story.html

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