A UBC Okanagan nursing student has filed a civil claim against a Kelowna RCMP officer, the Attorney General of Canada, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor after she claims she was assaulted and had her Charter Rights breached during a wellness check.
The alleged assault was filmed by a surveillance video taken from inside the student’s apartment building and the plaintiff’s lawyer is using the video in an attempt to prove the officer used excessive force.
The claim alleges that Mona Wang was at her apartment on Jan. 20 when her boyfriend called police and asked them to provide a health check on Wang, claiming she was under mental distress.
According to court documents, Const. Lacy Browning attended Wang’s apartment and found the student lying on the floor in a state of semi-consciousness. The plaintiff claims she was not a danger to Browning and did not act in a manner that would cause the RCMP officer to fear for their own safety.
The court documents state Browning did not identify herself as an RCMP officer or provide any medical assistance to Wang.
It’s alleged Browning demanded Wang stand up and as she could not stand on her own, the officer then kicked the plaintiff in the stomach.
“Browning repeatedly assaulted the plaintiff while shouting, ‘stop being dramatic’, ‘control your dog, don’t make me hurt him’,” court documents stated.
These events were not recorded on the surveillance video.
However, the video does show Browning dragging the handcuffed plaintiff on her stomach out of the apartment, down a carpeted hallway.
The plaintiff alleges she suffered injuries to her face, upper thigh, right breast, sternum and forearms.
It’s also alleged Browning punched the plaintiff in the face causing significant bruising to her temple and broken blood vessels to the left eye.
It was then that the plaintiff was taken to Kelowna General Hospital (KGH); however, the plaintiff alleges Browning told medical staff that Wang was high on methamphetamine. The plaintiff claims she has never used illicit drugs and that a toxicology report from KGH, taken during the plaintiff’s time in hospital, showed she had no drugs in her body.
These actions that Browning allegedly took caused Wang to suffer emotional distress, humiliation, shame, embarrassment, psychological and emotional trauma.
Wang is seeking punitive and exemplary damages against Browning.
The defendants have filed a response to the civil claim disputing the allegations. Const. Browning alleged she attended Wang’s address to perform a health check after receiving a report the student was suicidal and was not responding to text messages.
It is alleged the plaintiff had a history of prior suicide attempts by ingesting medication. Browning stated in her response that she attempted to gain access to Wang’s apartment building but was unable until she was let in by another resident. The defendant claimed once inside she knocked on the plaintiff’s door and announced herself as a police officer. There was no answer and Browning claimed she was about to get strata to allow her into the unit when she heard the apartment door unlocked.
Once inside the apartment, Browning said she began to search for the plaintiff. The defendant claimed she discovered the plaintiff in the bathroom on the floor, lying motionless with her eyes closed, but was breathing. It’s alleged a box cutter was in Wang’s right hand and she had lacerations to her chest and upper arm. A bottle of acetaminophen and melatonin were allegedly nearby along with an empty bottle of red wine.
The Browning response stated Wang’s dog attacked her and the officer had to shut the animal inside a nearby bedroom. As the plaintiff remained unresponsive on the floor, the defendant claimed she had to perform a sternum rub on Wang in hopes the woman would regain consciousness.
It’s alleged the plaintiff responded and began yelling. Browning said in the response that Wang hid her left hand behind her body and would not show the officer her hand.
Based on the defendant’s observations, Browning believed Wang had already had self-inflicted injures, had a history of being suicidal, may have ingested medication and alcohol, had a weapon exposed in her right hand, refused to show her left hand which led the officer to believe the plaintiff may have another weapon and could become combative.
The response claimed the plaintiff resisted the officer and had to be physically restrained in order to be arrested. The defendant claimed she did strike the plaintiff several times with an open palm and told her she was being apprehended under the Mental Health Act. The plaintiff refused to cooperate with the defendant’s demands to stand up, stated the response. It’s also alleged the plaintiff asked to be killed.
As Browning was alone without any other resources, she stated she had to move the plaintiff to the front door of the building to wait for fellow officers to arrive.
Once they arrived the plaintiff opted to cooperate and was transported to hospital. The defendant denies intentionally misleading medical professionals at KGH.
In the response, RCMP stated that Browning acted within the course and scope of her duties as an RCMP officer and did not act with malice. It is also claimed the officer had reasonable and probable grounds for the arrest and temporary detention of the plaintiff. The response alleges the plaintiff acted with volatile demeanour, was aggressive and refused to follow commands and that therefore the limited use of force by the defendant Browning was no more than was reasonable and necessary in the circumstances.
The civil response denies that Wang suffered any injuries as a result of the arrest on Jan. 20.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
This is the second civil suit, brought forward against a Kelowna RCMP officer, alleging agressive use of force to be filed in court this month.