Family and friends of Hudson Brooks marched along 152nd Avenue in South Surrey today, demanding justice following his death last July.
“Every moment of everyday, I wonder, I get up, first thing I think of is what happened to Hudson? How did this escalate to the point that lethal force was used on my son, my unarmed son?” asks his mother Jennifer Brooks.
Police responded to calls of a distressed man outside their detachment at 2:30 a.m. on July 18, 2015.
They encountered the 20-year old in the RCMP parking lot. Investigators say a physical struggle followed, and Brooks was shot multiple times. He was unarmed.
The Independent Investigations Office is investigating, but seven months after Brooks’ death, his mother is still waiting for answers.
“His life mattered to many of us, we want answers, we want justice, but we also want change.”
B.C.’s police watchdog says an increase in officer-involved shootings has put a strain on resources and led to a backlog of investigations.
“Our timeliness has suffered, and that is partly due to a spike in officer-involved shootings and officer-involved fatalities,” says Marten Youssef, spokesperson for the Independent Investigations Office of BC.
From September 2014 to December 2015, there were 20 officer-involved fatalities, 12 were firearm-related. That compares to one fatal shooting in 2013 and 3 fatal shootings in 2012. The IIO has hired more investigators to deal with the back-log.
Jennifer Brooks says the surge in police-involved shootings last year points to a need for better training.
“When there is someone in distress, the first thing to do is not shoot, not use lethal force,” Brooks says.