A Kelowna RCMP officer will not spend any time behind bars, and will not have a criminal record, if conditions of the judge’s conditional sentencing are followed, despite entering a guilty plea for assault while working.
Const. Lacy Browning has been granted a conditional discharge after assaulting a woman during a mental health check in January 2020.
The incident occurred when Browning was dispatched to the UBC Okanagan student housing building for a call of a mental health crisis.
Upon arrival, the Mountie found Mona Wang, a nursing student, laying unresponsive in the bathroom of her off-campus residence surrounded by pill bottles, an empty bottle of wine and a box cutter. Wang had used the box cutter to self-harm.
When Browning was asked by dispatch if she required backup Browning said, “No, it’s a whole bunch of dramatics.”
Browning also asked the operator to tell the backup officers, who were en route to the scene, to slow down and redirect as the situation was not urgent.
An ambulance had been called but would require gaining access to the building, as the front doors of the residence were locked.
Browning did not want to leave Wang alone to open the doors for the ambulance and asked Wang to stand up so that they could walk to the entrance of the building.
When Wang did not stand, she was placed under arrest under the mental health act and was placed in handcuffs.
The assault took place over three instances. The first is when Browning dragged Wang to the elevators and then to the entrance of the building. Once at the entrance Browning used her boot to push Wang’s head down to the ground, which is considered to be the second instance of assault. Browning then grabbed Wang by the hair and lifted her head off the ground before bending down to say something to her, which is the third instance of assault.
The assaults were captured on the building’s security cameras.
Wang was admitted to Kelowna General Hospital, where she was treated for bruising on her face, abdomen, sternum and arms, a hematoma on her face, abrasions on her body and face, an injury to her eye and superficial wounds from self-harm, in addition to receiving mental health supports.
Browning entered a guilty plea for the charge of assault before the case went to trial.
Judge Roy Dickey sentenced Browning to a conditional discharge, which is to be served in the community. If Browning abides by the conditions of the sentencing, which includes 160 hours of community service, and a two-year conditional sentencing period, she will have no criminal record.
In a statement read to the court back on June 14, Browning said that at the time of the incident, she was “struggling with compassion fatigue.”
The officer said that after 12 years on the force, she should have taken time off as she was just “going through the motions,” and experiencing a “lack of compassion” for the calls she was dealing with.
Two other lawsuits were filed against Browning, shortly after Wang came forward, involving two unrelated incidents.
Browning is still employed by the RCMP but is unable to work overtime. The RCMP is currently investigating the incident.