Calls for “justice” rang out over and over Tuesday evening in front of the South Surrey RCMP detachment, as friends and family of Hudson Brooks gathered to send a message to Crown counsel:
“We want Crown counsel to stop stalling,” Brooks’ mother Jennifer told a crowd of around 50 people.
“I hope Crown counsel is hearing us loud and clear.”
Tuesday marked the second anniversary of Brooks’ police-shooting death. The 20-year-old died around 2:30 a.m. on July 18, 2015, after what police initially described as a physical struggle outside of the detachment, located in the 1800-block of 152 Street.
Brooks’ mother later learned her son had been unarmed and was shot at close range.
Officials with the Independent Investigations Office – who investigate police-involved incidents that result in serious injury or death – announced last October that a report would be filed to Crown counsel “for consideration of charges” in connection with Brooks’ death.
Jennifer Brooks told Peace Arch News at that time that the news was “a huge step… relief,” and pledged to put pressure on Crown to approve a charge, but to first give them time and space to do their job.
As the two-year anniversary approached without any obvious progress – and no word from Crown as to when a decision would be made – she decided to protest.
Criminal Justice Branch spokesman Dan McLaughlin told PAN this week that he couldn’t discuss details of the case but that BC Prosecution Service officials “hope to have a decision soon.”
A number of factors determine how long the process takes, he said.
“The complexity of the investigation and the legal issues, the volume of the resulting evidence and further investigations undertaken by the enforcement agency are all factors that will impact on the time it takes to complete a charge assessment,” McLaughlin said by email Monday afternoon.
“Unfortunately we are unable to commit to a certain time frame at this point.”
At Tuesday’s protest, Brittany Doucette – Hudson Brooks’ cousin – said she can’t understand what is taking so long.
“It’s not fair,” said Doucette, 24. “Every day, (Hudson’s mom) is suffering.
“It’s just silly that they can’t lay the charges, or just give us an answer of some kind.”
Deborah Fischer described the fact that two years have passed without word on charges as “insane.” She said she attended Tuesday’s event because her daughter and granddaughter know the Brooks family.
“It could’ve been anybody’s child,” she said.
Jennifer Brooks said she hopes the next rally will be to commemorate the news that many are waiting for.
“Let’s hope next time we’re all together, we’re celebrating charges and we’re celebrating Hudson,” she told the crowd.
Tuesday was not the first time that events have been held to call for answers in the case. Marches took place three and six months after the shooting, and a vigil was held on the one-year anniversary.
As with past events, police attended to ensure safety of participants and motorists. They blocked off a portion of a southbound lane to traffic for the duration of Tuesday’s protest, and provided an escort when attendees marched – twice – along the thoroughfare.