Jennifer Brooks, right, is accompanied by her mother Donna Gauti as she speaks to media Wednesday, following B.C. Prosecution Service’s announcement of a stay of proceedings against Const. Elizabeth Cucheran. Cucheran shot and killed Brooks’ son, Hudson, during an incident outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment in July 2015 (Tracy Holmes photo)

Jennifer Brooks, right, is accompanied by her mother Donna Gauti as she speaks to media Wednesday, following B.C. Prosecution Service’s announcement of a stay of proceedings against Const. Elizabeth Cucheran. Cucheran shot and killed Brooks’ son, Hudson, during an incident outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment in July 2015 (Tracy Holmes photo)

Charges dropped against officer who shot and killed Hudson Brooks in South Surrey

‘I feel like I’ve lost Hudson all over again,’ says mom

Charges against the officer who shot and killed South Surrey’s Hudson Brooks four years ago have been dropped.

The B.C. Prosecution Service announced Wednesday that a stay of proceedings against Const. Elizabeth Cucheran has been entered on charges of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.

Hudson’s mom, Jennifer Brooks, told Peace Arch News the decision – shared with her shortly before – “makes me sick.”

“She gets away with nothing. She just walks away,” Brooks told PAN through tears.

“I just feel like I’ve lost Hudson all over again.”

READ MORE: Few answers after South Surrey man shot dead by police

Twenty-year-old Hudson Brooks died July 18, 2015, after what police initially described as a physical struggle with a “suicidal” male outside of the South Surrey RCMP detachment, located in the 1800-block of 152 Street. The altercation also resulted in Cucheran being transported to hospital with a self-inflicted, non-life-threatening gunshot wound.

It was later confirmed that only police-issued firearms were found at the scene.

In the years that followed, Jennifer Brooks learned that her son had been shirtless and unarmed at the time he was shot, and that he was shot at close range. She and many others called repeatedly for charges, staging ‘Justice for Hudson’ rallies and marches.

Charges against Cucheran – who is currently on administrative leave – were announced in December 2017, and she was ordered to stand trial following a preliminary inquiry that wrapped up in Surrey Provincial Court last December.

Court appearances to fix dates for trial, however, were adjourned multiple times, and as recently as last month.

READ MORE: VIDEO: RCMP officer charged in connection with South Surrey man’s death

In Wednesday’s news release, BCPS officials say “issues that arose” during the preliminary hearing led to further investigation and the determination “that the available evidence no longer satisfies the charge assessment standard for the continued prosecution of Cst. Cucheran for any criminal offence.”

The stay of proceedings was “based on a careful review of new material received and consideration of an additional expert report,” as well as consultation with several use-of-force experts, the release states.

In a nine-page ‘Clear Statement’ issued with the news release – “in order to maintain confidence in the integrity of the criminal justice system” – the BCPS further details reasoning for the stay of proceedings, including that evidence that emerged in the preliminary inquiry “revealed significant shortcomings in the case against Cst. Cucheran.”

Crown’s initial theory had been that Cucheran was “not entitled to resort to lethal force as soon as she did” during the altercation with Brooks, and that she would have had time to use her Taser instead.

A summary of evidence that led to the initial charges details that Brooks was behaving erratically in the early hours of July 18, 2015, after consuming significant quantities of alcohol and cocaine; wandering the streets shoeless and wearing only boxer shorts, vandalizing vehicles and saying loudly “Kill me!” “They’re going to kill me!” and “Sorry, mom!”

He attacked an officer’s SUV, hammering at the driver’s door and window with his arms, hands, elbows, knees, shoulder and head, causing the officer to believe “he would be ‘severely injured, if not worse…’” if Brooks got in, the statement continues.

Cucheran was among officers who responded, eventually firing her gun 12 times at a “charging,” aggressive Brooks; nine of the bullets hit.

“While Cst. Cucheran may have had a subjective belief that lethal force was necessary, on the available evidence this belief was not objectively reasonable,” the statement says.

Evidence brought out during cross-examination at the preliminary hearing, however – including an expert’s opinion that Brooks was likely suffering from ‘excited delirium’ at the time – “provided significant context and objective support for a conclusion that Mr. Brooks posed an imminent risk of grievous bodily harm or death.”

Excited delirium refers to “a state of extreme mental and physiological excitement, characterized by extreme agitation, hyperthermia, hostility, exceptional strength and endurance without apparent fatigue,” the statement explains.

The changes in the evidence were “critical,” according to the statement.

“The Crown is now of the view that the evidence strongly establishes that (Cucheran’s) resort to her firearm was entirely reasonable in the circumstances.”

Jennifer Brooks – noting that evidence she heard at the preliminary hearing included that officers were making jokes “as my son lay dying” – returned to the scene of her son’s death Wednesday afternoon to reiterate her disbelief in the news and dispute the argument that excited delirium was reasonable justification for Cucheran’s use of force.

She said it sets a precedent for how others who experience similar distress can be treated.

“My son was having a bad night, he needed help, he got shot nine times,” Brooks said. “Excited delirium? No one’s had a bad night?

“This is sending a message that anybody can do this – you can shoot somebody nine times, a young boy, unarmed, without shoes or without a shirt, and you can walk away. That’s what this is showing today.

“It feels like they shot Hudson all over again… and now they can say his life doesn’t matter.”

Brooks said she will be seeking legal advice as a result of the stay-of-proceedings decision.

Stay of Proceedings Directed in Prosecution of Surrey RCMP Officer by PAN editor on Scribd

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Jennifer Brooks protests with family and friends during calls for Crown counsel to move forward with charges in connection with the police-shooting death of her son, Hudson. (File photo)

Jennifer Brooks protests with family and friends during calls for Crown counsel to move forward with charges in connection with the police-shooting death of her son, Hudson. (File photo)

A memorial to Hudson Brooks outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment. (Tracy Holmes photo)

A memorial to Hudson Brooks outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Jennifer Brooks speaks at the scene of her son’s July 2015 death, following news charges against the officer who fatally shot her son have been dropped. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Jennifer Brooks speaks at the scene of her son’s July 2015 death, following news charges against the officer who fatally shot her son have been dropped. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Just Posted

Wes Barker, second from left, with fellow Big Trick Energy show performers on “Ellen,” in video posted to youtube.com.
VIDEO: On ‘Ellen,’ former Langley man works magic with new ‘Big Trick Energy’ gang

A decade ago, Wes Barker quit his job with the City of Surrey to do magic professionally

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020.   THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More Langley-area business closed due to COVID-19

Any business with three or more cases among employees can be closed

Vancouver Giants victorious over the Royals in Kamloops Thursday, April 15. The G-Men won, 4-0. (Allen Douglas/Special to Black Press Media)
VIDEO: Giants young goalie shutouts Victoria, 4-0

The Langley-based WHL team earn another victory over the Royals Thursday in Kamloops

Critter Care’s first ever 50/50 winner is Kim Madill, who took home $28,852.50. (Critter Care/Special to The Star)
Winner takes home $28,852.50 through Critter Care’s first virtual 50/50

Kim Madill instantly donated part of the funds to the Langley-based wildlife society

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is moving forward on efforts to help citizens of Hong Kong remain in Canada rather than have to return. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Painful Truth: Canada’s immigration hopes may not be enough in post-COVID world

In a world of declining birth rates and rising wealth, where do new Canadians come from?

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Nick Warmerdam and his dog Diesel are inviting locals to check out the Lakeland Farm U-pick Flower Farm this spring. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford’s Lakeland Flowers opens for spring

Tulip farm attraction opened on April 14, open to the public daily seven days a week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

The female driver of this Jeep Grand Cherokee (right) was driving erratically with a young child inside on Highway 1 eastbound. After hitting a barrier and a parked car, she finally exited the highway at Yale Road West and came to a stop. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Video captures woman driving erratically with child after hitting barrier, car on Hwy 1 in Chilliwack

Smoke seen coming from SUV as it continues to travel eastbound of shoulder of highway

Former Pitt Meadows city councillor David Murray was convicted of sex assault, and is now being sued by the victim. (files)
Former Pitt Meadows city councillor sued for sex assault

David Murray was convicted in 2017 of sexually assaulting a teen 25 years earlier

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

Most Read