CALGARY (CITYNEWS) – Calgary protesters gathered Saturday afternoon to denounce police brutality against Mona Wang, a young B.C. nursing student who was beaten by an RCMP officer in Kelowna during a wellness check earlier this year.
The protesters demonstrated in front of Calgary’s City Hall demanding accountability from police while continuing the conversation about police brutality.
“People are here today to talk about the wrongdoing to Mona,” said city councillor Sean Chu.
Video of the incident was widely shared two weeks ago. It shows Wang with her hands cuffed behind her back being dragged down the hallway of her apartment building. Once in the lobby, Wang lifts her head, and one of the officers then places her foot on the back of Wang’s head, pushing it to the ground.
“When we saw the photos and video, we were shocked,” said protester Wei Zhou. “You can’t put your foot on the person’s head when they’re on the ground. They’re already ‘cuffed. There’s no reason.
“I don’t believe the Canadian law or RCMP regulations would allow that.”
The surveillance footage was filed as evidence in a B.C. Supreme Court lawsuit. Wang is suing the police officer, Cpl. Lacy Browning, Canada’s attorney general and B.C.’s minister of public safety.
“Being a police officer in Calgary for 21 years, I can tell you I have never done that,” said Chu. “I have never heard of any police officer doing that. When we do a training, specifically, we are told, ‘don’t ever do stuff like that.’
“From what you have seen in the video, it doesn’t look right whatsoever. And that’s why people are here today – for justice for Mona.”
In her lawsuit, Wang says she suffered emotional and physical abuse at the hands of the officer. The student, 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.
The video is just one of several that have surfaced recently calling into question if police services are equipped to handle mental health calls and wellness checks. Many people say resources need to be allocated to professionals who are trained to respond to these delicate situations properly.
“We could not believe RCMP were treating people like criminals – like animals,” said protest organizer Steven Gin. “I’ve lived in Canada for 37 years. I’ve never seen a policeman, to a general citizen, do something like that.”