Jennifer Brooks outside Surrey Provincial Court at the start of the preliminary inquiry into her son Hudson’s July 2015 police-involved shooting death. (File photo)

Charges dropped against Mountie involved in shooting death of Surrey man

‘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.

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 only shortly before – “makes me sick.”

“She gets away with nothing. She just walks away,” Brooks said 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 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 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.

Charges against Cucheran 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.

In today’s news release, BCPS officials say the “issues that arose” during that 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 Const. 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.

Critical changes in the evidence included that it now “provided significant context and objective support for a conclusion that Mr. Brooks posed an imminent risk of grievous bodily harm or death.”

“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.”

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

Just Posted

Buller Street self-isolation site for homeless dismantled

The site was cleared to meet the September 30 deadline to close

Heavy rains raise concerns over storm water run-off in Holland Creek

Town says they are working with developers to review soil erosion plans

McNab’s Corn Maze is open for pumpkin patch season

The famed farm will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. until October 31

Downtown Public Washroom project ‘shovel ready’ thanks to FortisBC community grant

FortisBC has awarded the Ladysmith Kinsmen Club $15,000 toward the Downtown Public Washroom project

LRCA Volunteer Counselling Program receives $7,500 boost from Oyster Bay Microtel

The Microtel raised funds through the MasterBUILT Common Ground program

B.C. starts October with 82 more positive COVID-19 tests

10,899 tests a record for a single day, Bonnie Henry says

Missing mushroom picker in northern B.C. found dead

Witset elder found deceased in Price Creek area more than two weeks after he vanished

BC Greens focus on long-term care reform in first platform promise

Greens have promised to move away from the for-profit care home model

‘It’s a nightmare’: Northern B.C. family desperate after living in hotel for a year

Renae Podgorney says because of a lack of rentals, she’s now applying to rent a one-bedroom unit

Costs climb to more than $100K for BC SPCA to care for animals in B.C. farm seizure

Eight puppies, of the 97 animals seized have now died from parvovirus enteritis

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. VOTES 2020: Wilkinson to stop 24-hour camping in city parks

Ban on ‘unsafe roadside panhandling’ to be enforced

Bathtub power propels Cedar motocross racer to B.C. title

Seby Sulyok wins his division in FutureWest provincial series

Be prepared and drive safely, say BC RCMP as winter draws closer

Police provide list of ways to stay safe while driving in winter conditions

Most Read