The mother of a young man who was shot and killed by police outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment more than three years ago saw the officer who is charged with her son’s death for the first time Monday.
“Just makes me want to throw up,” Jennifer Brooks told Peace Arch News outside Surrey Provincial Court, during a break in a preliminary inquiry that got underway that morning in connection with the July 2015 death of her son, Hudson.
Charges of aggravated assault and assault with a deadly weapon were announced last December against Const. Elizabeth Cucheran in connection with Hudson’s death.
In court Monday, Cucheran, dressed in a grey skirt and blazer, sat about 10 feet in front of Jennifer Brooks, who was in the gallery with her mother, daughter, sister, friends and Hudson’s father, Matt Brooks.
Hudson, 20, died early July 18, 2015, after what police initially described as a physical struggle outside of the detachment, located 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.
It was later confirmed that only police-issued firearms were found at the scene.
In the years since, 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.
In October 2016, the Independent Investigations Office announced that a report would be filed to Crown counsel “for consideration of charges” against one or more officers.
The proceedings that began this week are scheduled for eight days, and more than two dozen people turned out to the courthouse to listen to what transpired – hearing details that cannot be reported and that have yet to be made public.
As they listened, some attendees could be seen wiping away tears, and Jennifer Brooks gasped at some of what was disclosed.
As Cucheran has elected for trial by judge and jury, and due to the high-profile nature of the case, Judge Gary Cohen – at the request of Crown counsel John Neal – imposed a publication ban on all of the evidence presented.
Neal told the court he expected to call “about 15” witnesses over the course of the inquiry – which continues this week through Thursday then returns Dec. 18-21 – which is to determine if there is enough evidence to warrant a trial.
Hudson’s father, Matt Brooks, told PAN he plans to attend the entire proceedings.
“There used to be standards before people were given those opportunities,” he said, referring to police being issued firearms. “I’m not sure, as a society, we require those standards anymore.”
Jennifer Brooks said she will pay close attention to how her son is portrayed during the proceedings.
“If they attack Hudson’s character… I’ll fight back,” she said.
“He did not deserve to die.”