Two-and-a-half years after police shot and killed her son Hudson in South Surrey, Jennifer Brooks has learned that one officer has been charged.
It’s “a huge accomplishment,” Brooks told Peace Arch News Tuesday morning, following a meeting with Crown Counsel. “I wanted charges.”
BC Prosecution Service confirmed Surrey RCMP Const. Elizabeth Cucheran has been charged with one count of aggravated assault and one count of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the July 18, 2015 incident.
The charges were sworn Tuesday morning; Cucheran’s first court appearance is set for Jan. 9 in Surrey Provincial Court.
Brooks learned Monday morning that a decision on charges had been made, and told PAN she was “praying” it would be the outcome she and others have been calling for.
Outside the Crown office Tuesday, Brooks expressed her gratitude to the community and media.
“I’m so grateful – I’m grateful to you all. We could not have done this without each and every one of you.”
She also thanked Hudson for being “such a wonderful son… He didn’t deserve this.”
Hudson Brooks was 20 when he died on July 18, 2015, after what police initially described as a physical struggle outside of the South Surrey RCMP detachment, in the 1800-block of 152 Street. The altercation also resulted in an officer being transported to hospital with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.
Only police-issued firearms were found at the scene.
Over time, Jennifer Brooks learned that her son had been shirtless and unarmed at the time, and that he was shot at close range.
In October of last year, the Independent Investigations Office announced that a report would be filed to Crown counsel “for consideration of charges” against one or more officers in connection with Brooks’ death.
On the one-year anniversary of that news, his mother told PAN the wait has been “such agony.”
The news release issued by BC Prosecution Service Tuesday morning said charges were approved following a complete review of evidence by senior Crown counsel.
“The investigation and charge assessment process were protracted due, in part, to the complexities of the evidentiary issues in the case and the requirement for further investigation and analysis,” the release states.
Jennifer Brooks said she now understands why the process took so long.
“Crown counsel took this very, very seriously,” Brooks commented. “It took a long, long time. There was a lot of evidence and they had to decipher through everything.”
Brother Beaudry Brooks, 24, said he was “relieved” to hear charges were laid in his sibling’s death, but that he believes the officer “probably should have been charged higher.”
Jennifer Brooks said she’s just happy to have charges, and that she hopes it will “make a difference in how police handle situations.”
She does not, however, want to know what the accused looks like, and has said she will not share the officer’s name on social media, even though it is already public.
“They have a family, too,” she said. “I’m not on a witch hunt. I don’t think this woman walked out and said, ‘I’m going to shoot and kill a boy today.’ It’s such a tragedy. There’s a no-win situation here, for our family and hers.”