Victim’s family has waited too long: MLA

Independent Investigation Office releases little information in months since police-involved killing of Hudson Brooks.

Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Sue Hammell is speaking out on behalf of family and friends of Hudson Brooks

Surrey-Green Timbers MLA Sue Hammell is speaking out on behalf of family and friends of Hudson Brooks

A Surrey MLA is speaking out on behalf of the family of Hudson Brooks in their search for answers, eight months after the 20-year-old was killed by police in South Surrey.

NDP MLA Sue Hammell (Surrey-Green Timbers) told Peace Arch News this week that Hudson’s family has been waiting “much too long” for information about what happened in the early morning hours of July 18, when he was fatally shot outside of the South Surrey RCMP detachment.

“We have a family that doesn’t have answers as to what happened,” she said Monday. “For all of our sense of security and trust, we need to know what happened. It’s now March, in four months it will be a year. That’s much too long.”

Police said the shooting occurred after an altercation during which an officer was also injured, later confirming that only police-issued weapons were found at the scene. No further details have been disclosed, and the case is in the hands of the Independent Investigation Office, which handles incidents involving police that result in serious injury or death.

Last month, IIO spokesperson Marten Yousseff told PAN the office was still awaiting “third-party” reports, and did not have a timeline for when the reports would be complete.

Hammell said such delays – another IIO spokesperson told PAN in December the office was still waiting for unrelated ballistics reports from a full year earlier – need to be addressed.

“If there are backups, then those are indicative that they need more resources,” Hammell said.

“There should be some kind of best practices or standards around how long it takes to get back to people regarding an incident like this.”

Hammell said she had brought the matter to the attention of MLA Mike Farnworth, the NDP’s justice critic, and was hopeful he would consider raising the issue during question period. Farnworth could not be reached for comment by PAN press time Tuesday.

The political involvement is welcome news to Brooks’ mother, Jennifer, who told PAN last month she had not been contacted by any elected officials.

“I wanted to put pressure on the politicians, and this is our start,” she said Friday after Hammell reached out.

The Surrey-Green Timbers MLA said she plans to meet with Brooks’ mother before the house resumes after the Easter break, with a goal of helping the family to get some answers.

“My hope is that very soon the family will know what happened that evening,” Hammell said. “I may be wrong, but in my opinion, this is very unusual that the family would not know what happened eight months later. Nothing. They don’t know anything. And that’s not OK.”