The mother of Hudson Brooks says she’s “disgusted” with Crown council after charges were stayed against a Surrey Mountie for her role in the 20-year-old’s death.
Hudson was shot nine times outside the Surrey RCMP detachment on 152 Street in July 2015 after attacking Const. Elizabeth Cucheran and another officer.
Cucheran fired her gun 12 times, hitting herself once in the process.
Following an investigation by the Independent Investigation Office, Cucheran was charged with aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in December 2017.
But prosecutors said Wednesday that evidence that came out during a preliminary hearing — including a concession from a use-of-force expert around Hudson’s drug-induced state — undermined the Crown’s case to the point where it no longer met the standard for charge approval.
Jennifer Brooks says she was “blindsided” by the news during a meeting with prosecutors earlier Wednesday, saying she and her family were prepared for legal proceedings to continue in December.
WATCH: (Jan. 9, 2018) Officer charged in shooting to appear in court
“I’m devastated, shocked and disgusted with Crown council that this has happened. … They couldn’t even put up a fight.”
Evidence released by the B.C. Prosecution Service (BCPS) along with the announcement says Hudson was wandering down the street near the detachment vandalizing vehicles and yelling “Kill me!”, “They’re going to kill me!”, and “Sorry mom!” after having “consumed significant quantities of alcohol and cocaine.”
He was wearing only a pair of boxer shorts and no shoes.
After coming across Cucheran and two other officers, Hudson charged towards Cucheran, who began shooting. Four of her shots hit Hudson when he was several metres away.
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Initially, a use-of-force expert determined Cucheran had resorted to lethal force too early, in violation of RCMP procedure, and could have used a taser instead.
But that expert later reversed some of his opinion during the preliminary hearing, conceding that Brooks was likely in a state of “excited delirium” or cocaine psychosis, which would significantly change the use-of-force calculation — particularly involving a taser.
But Brooks says none of that matters.
WATCH: (Aug. 13, 2016) Anniversary of Hudson Brooks police involved death
“My son was not armed,” she said. “My son did not have shoes or a shirt on. So I don’t care what you say. You cannot justify the way my son was killed and murdered and nothing done.
“If this were anyone else in our society, don’t you think they’d be in jail? For shooting a young guy, unarmed?”
Brooks, her family and several friends held regular rallies and marches for years calling for charges to be laid, launching an online campaign under the banner #JusticeForHudson.
READ MORE: Surrey mother talks to IIO about son’s death
While the news of the charges was welcome at the time, she then had to sit through the same preliminary trial where the new statements were heard, which she says was hard to do — especially now that the charges have been stayed.
“I feel like I’ve been hit with a baseball bat,” she said. “All the marches we did, the youth were so peaceful and so respectful. All this, for what?”
Brooks says she’ll be seeking legal advice before taking any further action. She would not rule out an appeal or a civil suit.
WATCH: (July 19, 2016) Vigil for Hudson Brooks
She’s now worried this could set a dangerous precedent for police to justify using force against another young person in medical distress who needs help.
“Our communities, we all fought so hard for him and this is what they do to us,” she said. “Just horrible; just saying Hudson’s life doesn’t matter.
“I feel sorry for the next person, because guess what? This is sending a message that anybody can do this.”
—With files from Simon Little