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'Reckless' Kelowna RCMP officer seen dragging, stepping on head of nursing student during wellness check

Last Updated Aug 31, 2020 at 2:16 pm PDT

Summary

Video shows officer dragging nursing student by the handcuffed hands down a hallway

RCMP officer claims student was violent and needed to be subdued

Lawsuit alleging emotional and physical damage has not been heard in court

KELOWNA (NEWS 1130) — A Kelowna RCMP officer can be seen dragging a nursing student by her handcuffed arms though a hallway and later stepping on the young woman’s head in surveillance footage filed as evidence in a B.C. Supreme Court lawsuit.

The UBC Okanagan student, Mona Wang, is suing the police officer, Cpl. Lacy Browning, Canada’s attorney general and B.C.’s minister of public safety. She filed the civil suit in a Kelowna court on March 26.

Wang says she suffered emotional and physical abuse at the hands of the police officer who was sent to check on her wellbeing on Jan. 20 of this year.

Browning has denied the allegations in response to the civil claim filed June 15. She claims Wang was violent and needed to be subdued.

The case has yet to be heard in court and none of the claims have been proven.

According to Wang’s suit, her boyfriend contacted emergency services on the night in question and asked for a health check because she was under “mental distress.”

RELATED: Wellness check system needs overhaul, no police: advocacy group

Browning responded to the call and found Wang lying on her bathroom floor “in a state of semi-consciousness,” the suit states.

“The plaintiff was not a danger to Browning, nor did the plaintiff act in a manner that would cause Browning to be in fear of her safety,” Wang claims, adding that Browning did not identify herself as a police officer.

Rather than try to help Wang or assess her health, the police officer demanded she stand, which she was incapable of at the time, according to the lawsuit.

Wang says “Browning proceeded to assault the plaintiff by stepping” on her arm and kicking her in the stomach while she remained on the floor.

“Browning repeatedly assaulted the plaintiff while shouting ‘stop being dramatic,’ ‘control your f–-ing dog,’ ‘don’t make me hurt him,’ ” according to the lawsuit, which also claims Browning called Wang a “stupid idiot.”

While there is no video available to confirm Wang’s version of events, what happened next was captured by surveillance cameras in the building. The footage was provided to NEWS 1130 by Wang’s lawyer.

Browning can be seen dragging the young woman by her handcuffed hands down a hallway.

Wang, who was wearing pants and a sports bra at the time, “suffered injury to her face, upper thigh, abrasion over the right breast, bruising over the sternum and bruising over the forearms,” she claims.

Wang says Browning also punched her in the face while dragging her to an elevator, which caused facial bruising, broken blood vessels in her left eye, a swollen right eye, and bruising to the right temple.

Surveillance footage from the lobby of Wang’s building shows Wang lying on her stomach with her hands cuffed behind her back. When she lifts her head, Browning steps on it with her boot, pressing her head back on the ground. Roughly a minute later, Browning pulls Wang’s hair to lift her head.

Wang claims Browning also misled health-care workers at Kelowna General Hospital, telling them Wang had taken methamphetamine, which she says she has never taken. Wang’s lawsuit says her toxicology report showed no illegal drugs in her system.

“As a direct, foreseeable, and proximate result of Browning[‘s] reckless and unlawful actions, the plaintiff has suffered emotional distress, humiliation, shame, and embarrassment, psychological and emotional trauma all to the plaintiff’s damage,” the lawsuit claims.

Browning’s version of events departs from Wang’s in many ways.

She claims she identified herself when knocking on Wang’s door and found her on the bathroom floor with a box cutter in her hand, cuts on her arms and chest, and surrounded by empty pill bottles and a near-empty wine bottle.

Browning says she moved Wang’s dog to a nearby bedroom after it “attacked” her.

When she tried to ascertain her level of consciousness by performing a sternum rub, Wang yelled at the police officer and asked to be killed, according to the lawsuit response.

Believing Wang was a threat to herself, Browning says she decided to arrest her under the Mental Health Act but the nursing student resisted arrest and hit the officer “several times with an open palm.”

Browning says she needed to move Wang to the building’s lobby because she didn’t know if paramedics would be able to access the building and she didn’t want to leave the student alone.

Wang later “opted to co-operate” and walked with Browning to her police cruiser and was driven to the hospital, according to Browning’s version of events. The video shows Wang standing up with Browning holding onto her and walking out of the building.

Browning denies she injured Wang, “intentionally” misled medical professionals or inflicted any of the damages Wang alleges.