EDITORIAL: Questions don’t go away with time

One year – and counting – is far too long for family and friends of Hudson Brooks to wait for answers regarding his death.

It’s too long to wait.

A year after the fact, Hudson Brooks’ family and friends should not still be asking for answers to how and why the unarmed 20-year-old was shot in an early-morning altercation with police at the South Surrey RCMP detachment.

We understand that the Independent Investigations Office, which investigates police-involved incidents in which life was lost or serious harm ensued, wants to get its investigation – still apparently hinging on an outstanding ballistics report – right.

There are clearly serious issues involved, and being able to fully assess the information should not be compromised by the understandable grief and desire for closure of those who mourn Brooks.

But current IIO estimates are that it will be late September before the investigation is complete, let alone when a report will be released.

A year and two months without any word?

With all due respect to the IIO, which claims its caseload was impacted by a nearly year-long spike in officer-involved shootings that started in September of 2014, this doesn’t indicate a system working as it should.

It indicates, at best, a system that is broken. At worst, it smacks of bureaucratic coldness and insensitivity.

The most recent comments from the IIO did not come as a result of consideration or empathy for the victim’s loved ones. They came as a result of sustained pressure, from the public, from politicians and from the media.

They say the squeaky wheel gets the oil. That that’s what it takes to get results is not a reassurance that our democratic system is functioning as it should, either.

Even if information was still pending, more frequent and more sensitive updates on the ongoing investigation might have done more to reassure people that the necessary work was being done.

It might have made authorities seem less tone-deaf, and done much to discourage public speculation that what is underway is not simply an investigation, but an exercise in damage control. Why, in an ostensibly civilized country like Canada, should answers to why a young man lost his life – whatever the reason – be so long in coming?

And why should those who care about Brooks still be standing on street corners – as the more than 100 people who gathered for a vigil at the site of the shooting did Monday – still shouting into the wind for justice?

Just Posted

Semiahmoo First Nation archeology manager Don Welsh (left) sifts through shell midden at a Crescent Beach site in August 2019. (File photo)
Semiahmoo First Nation to repatriate 200 ancestors

B.C. grant funding return of remains from Simon Fraser University

The City of Surrey partnered with the Work Zone Safety Alliance last year to remind drivers to slow down in construction zones. (File photo)
White Rock, Surrey motorists asked to slow down in ‘cone zones’

Provincewide campaign encouraging residents to be mindful of construction workers

White Rock RCMP received more than 80 calls for service between Friday and Sunday night (May 14-16, 2021). (Aaron Hinks file photo)
White Rock beachgoers fined for fires, public intoxication

Majority of weekend visitors were well-behaved, police say

Fraser Valley Heritage Rail Society volunteers stand on the train platform in Cloverdale in 2020. A new exhibit about FVHRS and Surrey’s train history opens at the Museum of Surrey June 2. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
New exhibition on Surrey’s train history to open at Museum of Surrey

Separate two-day event welcomes kids June 25-26

A new DPD team began targeting gang-related activity on May 15, including checking on individuals who must abide by curfews and conditions. (Delta Police Department photo)
Delta police taking action to address gang conflict

Three-pronged strategy focused on interdiction, investigation and prevention

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Sicamous RCMP Sgt. Murray McNeil and Cpl. Wade Fisher present seven-year-old Cody Krabbendam of Ranchero with an award for bravery on July 22, 2020. (Contributed)
7-year old Shuswap boy receives medal of bravery for rescuing child at beach

Last summer Cody Krabbendam jumped into the lake to save another boy from drowning

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry update the province’s COVID-19 vaccine program, May 10, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays below 500 a day over weekend

14 more deaths, down to 350 in hospital as of Monday

Royal Bay Secondary School’s rainbow crosswalk was vandalized shortly after being painted but by Monday, coincidentally the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the crosswalk had been cleaned up and students had surrounded it with chalk messages of support and celebration. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C. high’s school’s pride crosswalk restored following ‘hateful’ graffiti attack

Hate terms, racial slur, phallic images spray-painted at Greater Victoria high school

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Terrance Mack would have celebrated his 34th birthday on May 13, 2021. Mack’s family has identified him as the victim of a homicide in an apartment on Third Avenue in Port Alberni sometime in April. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Family identifies Ucluelet man as victim of Vancouver Island homicide

Terrance Mack being remembered as ‘kind, gentle’ man

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Most Read