Wang’s boyfriend called the police to request a wellness check on her on Jan. 20.
The police then dispatched Const. Lacey Browning to Wang’s residence in Kelowna, British Columbia.
However, instead of helping Wang during a time of “crisis,” Browning allegedly punched, kicked and dragged her through her building.
A surveillance video that emerged this week shows Browning dragging a handcuffed Wang before placing a boot on her head and pulling her up by the hair.
Soon after the incident, Wang took to Instagram to share photos of her injuries and claimed that the police were conjuring a fake story.
“I was having some mental health issues and a cop came, but instead of taking me straight to the hospital, she stepped on me, kicked me, punched the sh*t out of my face, cuffed and dragged me down the hall and threatened to take my dog away from me,” Wang recalled. “And then 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.”
The aftermath: Wang headed to court in March with a civil action suit against Browning, the federal attorney general and the provincial public safety minister, claiming that she was physically and emotionally abused.
In her defense, Browning argued that she used only necessary force to subdue Wang, who allegedly became violent.
The officer added that at the time of the wellness check, Wang had a box-cutting knife in her hand, as well as cuts on her arm and chest.
Wang was initially unresponsive but eventually became combative, Browning claimed, forcing her to strike the student “several times with an open palm” until she was put on cuffs.
In a recent interview with CBC, Wang called the incident “degrading” and explained that some professionals can do better in similar situations.
“It was so degrading, and at a time when I was so vulnerable, I don’t know why anyone would commit that act of abuse. I just felt so powerless because the police have such a high level of power,” Wang told the outlet. “I definitely believe that the police should not be the only ones to arrive on a wellness check, unless they have extensive training on de-escalation skills and mental health. I think there are a lot better professions who can go ahead and assess a situation, de-escalate and move forward with treatment … a social health worker, a mental health nurse, so many different allied health workers can arrive and perform their duties better because that’s what they’re trained to do.”
Wang added that she decided to speak out not only for herself but for others in similar situations whose voices cannot be heard.
“It angered me to know how many people go through this and how their voices aren’t heard. That’s kind of why I’m going out and taking so many interviews because I have this chance to speak publicly about what happened. I’m doing it for me but also for so many people who cannot have their voices heard,” she said.
So far, none of Wang’s allegations have been proven in court. Browning, in the meantime, was put on administrative duties, according to Kelowna Now.
A Change.org petition has been set up to help bring justice for Wang. It aims to get Browning fired and charged with assault.
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