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Inquest into RCMP shooting death of Hudson Brooks recommends improved police training

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A coroners inquest into the death of a 20-year-old man shot by a Surrey RCMP officer six years ago is calling for more training for police officers on the use of force.

Hudson Brooks died outside the Surrey RCMP detachment on 152 Street in July, 2015, after being shot nine times during a chaotic confrontation with officers.

On Thursday, a jury at the BC Coroners Service inquest returned three recommendations aimed at preventing a similar death in the future.

JURY’S VERDICT: 4 person jury classifies death as ‘homicide’. This however is not a criminal proceeding. 3 recommendations made to RCMP, IIO and Public Safety Minister, to help prevent this from happening again. FULL DETAILS coming up ⁦@GlobalBCpic.twitter.com/ayOltvAtzW

— Rumina Daya (@rdayaglobal) March 5, 2021

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Jurors recommended the BC RCMP increase the frequency of training specifically focused on communications in regard to tactical considerations when it comes to the use of force.

Jurors also recommended that when  the Independent Investigations Office, B.C.’s civilian police watchdog, finishes investigations that its findings and investigative materials be turned over to police to help with better training.

Click to play video 'RCMP officer apologizes to Hudson Brooks’ mother in BC Coroners inquest'

RCMP officer apologizes to Hudson Brooks’ mother in BC Coroners inquest

RCMP officer apologizes to Hudson Brooks’ mother in BC Coroners inquest

Finally, jurors called on the Ministry of Public Safety’s police service division to review its standards around the training and use of “intermediate force options” such as Taser-type weapons.

Coroners inquests do not make findings of guilt or innocence, but are charged with determining the facts of a person’s death and making recommendations to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

Brooks’ brother Beau said he was pleased the jury had recommendations on how police could improve, but worried there would be no follow-through on their findings.

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“I am just in general disappointed in the situation and that we’re here, and having to talk about this five and a half years later, and still really no justice for my brother, and it seems as if they continue to paint him with a worse brush as time goes by than he truly was,” he said.

“This whole coroners’ inquest we really only got to see the officer’s side. There’s been absolute fabrications. There’s a video of what happened to my brother, and the things they are saying happened, it is very obviously not what happened in the video.”

Over the course of hearings this week, the inquest heard from Const. Elizabeth Cucheran who fired the shots that killed Books after she responded to a request for help from a fellow officer who Brooks had confronted.

Cucheran apologized to Brooks’ family, and testified she fired her weapon as the 20-year-old charged at her screaming “kill you, kill you, kill you, kill me.”

The initial investigation determined Cucheran fired her gun 12 times, hitting the Brooks nine times.

The inquest saw security video showing a part of that interaction, and heard 911 call audio of a witness reporting Brooks screaming “kill me” as he walked through the streets of South Surrey clad only in a pair of underwear.

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An autopsy later revealed drugs and alcohol in his system.

In 2017, following an IIO investigation, Cucheran was charged with aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.

Those charges were stayed in 2019, after Crown prosecutors said additional evidence — including that Brooks may have been in a state of drug-induced “excited delirium” — meant the case no longer met the standard for charge approval.

Editor’s note: A previous draft of this story incorrectly stated Brooks was charged with aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. In fact, Const. Cucheran faced those charges. Global News regrets the error.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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