Jennifer Brooks with a stone tablet that adorns the memorial to her son Hudson, outside the South Surrey RCMP detachment parkade where he was fatally shot by police in July 2015. This month, charges against the officer who shot Hudson were stayed. (Tracy Holmes photo)

LETTER: Lack of charges an ‘appalling’ call

Editor: The decision to stay charges against Const. Elizabeth Cucheran is a travesty of justice.

Editor:

Re: ‘I’ve lost Hudson all over again,’ Sept. 20.

The decision by the B.C. Prosecution Service to stay charges against RCMP Const. Elizabeth Cucheran in the killing of Hudson Brooks is a travesty of justice. Const. Cucheran shot 20-year-old Brooks nine times (of 12 shots fired) while the young man was in some distress. One could argue that given that level of violence, Cucheran should have faced more than the charges of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon that were brought and ultimately stayed.

It is additionally disturbing to find out that the decision to stay charges made reference to, and was partly influenced by, a claim of “excited delirium.” This is nothing less than a sham excuse used to benefit cops who kill, as criminologists have long attested.

Excited delirium is an explanation considered dubious based on medical evidence and research. The “condition” is not found in DSM-5 or the ICD-10 (the current versions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and the International Classification of Diseases, respectively). Excited delirium has not been recognized by the American Medical Association or the American Psychological Association. Police psychologist Mike Webster called it a dubious diagnosis during the inquiry into the RCMP killing of Robert Dziekanski by taser at Vancouver International airport.

Melissa Smith of the American Medical Association confirmed in 2007 that the association had “no official policy” on the supposed condition (ABC News, 2007).

Further, excited delirium is not recognized in Australia by the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine, the Australian Medical Association or any other registered medical body. Neither is it recognized in law.

If the B.C. Prosecution Service allowed this dubious “diagnosis” to influence their decision, they should be ashamed – in an already shameful situation.

Dr. Jeff Shantz, Department of Criminology, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey

On July 29, 2015, I had one of two letters published regarding the tragic death of Hudson Brooks.

I stated at that time that the ‘Confidence in police was at stake’ and said the circumstances must be investigated quickly and accurately to restore confidence in the local RCMP; and, that the Independent Investigations Office review should not be protracted or vague. Furthermore, I explained that Canada is a signatory to the United Nations’ Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, which provides that “Law enforcement officials may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty.”

The facts remain that an unarmed man wearing only shorts died in a hail of bullets and several officers were unable to de-escalate the situation.

The system has consistently failed to be transparent, has taken an inordinate amount of time to reach their latest conclusions and I suspect many people like me are appalled at the protracted and obscured process in their midst that is more suitable to a Third World country than a G7 nation.

David Hutchinson, South Surrey

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