[Charges stayed against cop who shot Brooks, Langley Advance Times, Sept. 20]
The decision by the B.C. Prosecution Service to stay charges against RCMP Const. Elizabeth Cucheran in the killing of Hudson Brooks is a travesty of justice. Const. Cucheran shot 20-year-old Brooks nine times (of 12 shots fired) while the young man was in some distress. One could argue that given that level of violence, Cucheran should have faced more than the charges of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon that were brought and ultimately stayed.
It is additionally disturbing to find out, as reported in the Black Press Media, that the decision to stay charges made reference to, and was partly influenced by, a claim of “excited delirium.” This is nothing less than a sham excuse used to benefit cops who kill, as criminologists have long attested.
Excited delirium is an explanation considered dubious based on medical evidence and research. The “condition” is not found in DSM-5 or the ICD-10 (the current versions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the International Classification of Diseases, respectively). Excited delirium has not been recognized by the American Medical Association or the American Psychological Association. Police psychologist Mike Webster called it a dubious diagnosis during the inquiry into the RCMP killing of Robert Dziekanski by taser at Vancouver International airport.
Melissa Smith of the American Medical Association confirmed in 2007 that the association had “no official policy” on the supposed condition (ABC News, 2007).
Further, excited delirium is not recognized in Australia by the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, the Australian Medical Association or any other registered medical body. Neither is it recognized in law.
If the B.C. Prosecution Service allowed this dubious “diagnosis” to influence their decision, they should be ashamed – in an already shameful situation.
Dr. Jeff Shantz,
Department of Criminology, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey