LETTERS: Confidence in police at stake

Editor:

Re: Man killed in struggle with officers, July 22.

Editor:

Re: Man killed in struggle with officers, July 22.

Having worn a uniform for more than 20 years, albeit military and not law enforcement, it now causes me great concern to see the evolving cynicism of the public regarding the law-enforcement officers entrusted to their protection.

The circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Hudson Brooks must be investigated quickly to restore confidence in the local RCMP. The Independent Investigations Office must rapidly and accurately review the events and provide both the public and the deceased man’s family an assessment of what occurred.

It will be unacceptable for this review to be protracted or vague.

The laws surrounding the use of lethal force must be effectively applied in this case.

Furthermore, the use of firearms is appropriate only in ‘self-defense, to confront armed perpetrators or in defense of persons or key facilities’. If, as appears to be the case, the dead man was not armed, then this does not seem applicable.

Moreover, it appears that organized crime and terrorism are not applicable in this instance.

The federal Criminal Code and RCMP Act apply in this situation, although Canada is also 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 IIO must balance the events that unfolded on July 18.

It was noted, in a 2002 comparative research project by Philip C. Stenning, in an SFU presentation, that “prosecutions of police officers for excessive or unjustified use of force have been very rare in Canada.”

Nonetheless, if there has been an application of disproportionate force then the IIO must make that deliberation and restore public confidence in their ability to accurately review cases, but more importantly reassure the local population in its uniformed officers.

David Hutchinson, Surrey

• • •

I’m deeply troubled by the police shooting death of Hudson Brooks.

I don’t know the boy or his family – only what I’ve heard or read.

I generally support the police, knowing they have a difficult job that becomes ever more complicated, but it’s a sad comment on our society that they feel traumatized enough to take the life of an unarmed 20-year-old, no matter the provocation he may have given them.

This killing shouldn’t have happened. Whether the police involved were poorly screened, inadequately trained or inexperienced, this death should not have happened.

I hope the facts of the case come out swiftly, fully and publicly and responsibility taken for what I can only call a crime.

Cary O’Malley, Surrey

 

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