A Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officer accused of abusing a woman suffering from a mental health crisis in Kelowna, British Columbia, last year was finally charged with assault last week.
What happened: Mona Wang, a nursing student at the University of British Columbia, was having a panic attack on Jan. 20, 2020 when her boyfriend called the police to request a wellness check. Constable Lacy Browning responded to the call, but instead of taking Wang to a hospital, she allegedly abused her physically and emotionally.
- In the surveillance video, Browning is seen dragging a handcuffed Wang down a hallway before placing a boot on her head and pulling her up by the hair. The officer was also accused of punching and kicking Wang, as well as threatening to take her dog away.
- Wang soon took to Instagram to share photos of injuries she had allegedly sustained from the encounter. She also refuted the police’s version of events.
- “They made up a story about how I was addicted to crystal meth and she thought I was trying to hurt her even though I was so weak and couldn’t stand up, let alone fight. I did swear at her and called her some names but none of that warrants a beating — this is straight-up police brutality,” Wang said.
- Wang filed a civil lawsuit against Browning in March 2020. In her defense, Browning argued that she only used necessary force to subdue Wang, who allegedly became violent during the intervention.
- According to Browning, Wang possessed a box-cutting knife and already had cuts on her arm and chest when she responded. She also claimed that Wang was initially unresponsive but later became combative, forcing her to strike her “several times with an open palm” until she finally put her in cuffs.
Officer charged: On Aug. 23, the British Columbia Prosecution Service (BCPS) announced that Browning had been charged with one count of assault. The charge came after an investigation by the RCMP, which was reviewed by the Abbotsford Police Department, according to CBC News.
- In a new statement, Wang said she was “very grateful” that Browning had been charged and that the Crown “did not turn a blind eye” on the case. She also echoed her call for the involvement of healthcare professionals during wellness checks.
- “Marginalized communities deserve respect and access to unstigmatized help and assistance just as the rest of the population. I still believe that mental health and addiction issues are a matter of healthcare and should not be responded to solely by the RCMP,” Wang said in her statement, according to CTV News.
- During the wellness check, Browning allegedly yelled, “Stop being dramatic!” and “Control your f***ing dog, don’t make me hurt him!” The officer was also accused of using phrases such as “stupid idiot,” the Vancouver Sun noted.
- Wang reached a settlement with her civil lawsuit against B.C. RCMP in June. At the time, she said she considered it a compromise and that she would not achieve justice until Browning was charged and kicked out of the force.
- Browning was assigned to administrative duties during the course of the investigation. She is scheduled to appear at the Kelowna Provincial Court on Sept. 14.