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'I was screaming for help': Student who was dragged, stepped on by RCMP speaks out
VANCOUVER -- The B.C. nursing student who was dragged and stepped on during an RCMP wellness check earlier this year is speaking out for the first time.
Surveillance video released on Monday shows an officer pulling Mona Wang down the hallway of a Kelowna apartment building in January, while the young woman was not wearing a shirt.
“I was screaming for help, I was so confused,” said Wang, adding that she was in a semi-conscious state at the time. “In that moment when you’re already so vulnerable, and you need some medical attention, you hear them telling you you’re under arrest.”
In a notice of civil claim naming Const. Lacy Browning, the federal attorney general and provincial public safety minister as defendants, Wang says she was "under mental distress" on the day police were called to her apartment for a wellness check.
“When she was dragging me, essentially it was scrapping off a layer of my skin and I still have scar on my nose and my chest,” said Wang.
In a brief emailed statement, Staff-Sgt. Janelle Shoihet of the B.C. RCMP told CTV News the force has reviewed the video, as well as the allegations made Wang.
"We can confirm that an internal Code of Conduct and criminal (statutory) investigation is underway," Shoihet said.
"The RCMP will also be asking an outside police department to independently review the findings of our criminal investigation once completed."
She added the Mountie in the video is currently on administrative duties, and her "duty status is subject to continual assessment."
Wang admits she took some pills and tried to harm herself on the night her boyfriend called police for help. She alleges the responding Mountie assaulted her during the visit and she is suing for damages.
“She was punching me and dragging me down the hall, pulling on my hair,” recounted Wang as she choked back tears.
“I just said if you’re going to do these things to me you might as well kill me because this is too much. And so she took that one section and completely twisted it to fit her perspective.”
The defendants say the officer's actions were "reasonable, lawful and executed in good faith," and that the use of force was necessary.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
At one point in the surveillance video, the officer is seen putting her boot on the nursing student's head. She's also seen pulling Wang's head up by the hair, then lowering it back to the ground.
“We deal with combative patients every day, people who are verbally abusive, who are physically abusive, and yet you never see us with boots on their heads,” said Wang, who is working at a care facility in Vancouver.
In a response to lawsuit, Browning says she was concerned about leaving Wang alone in the apartment, given reports that the woman was suicidal.
Browning said she found Wang unresponsive, but that the plaintiff had a boxcutter in her hand and lacerations on her body, and it appeared she might do further harm to herself or the officer.
Next to Wang, who was lying on the bathroom floor, Browning said she found a nearly empty bottle of wine, and empty bottles of acetaminophen and melatonin.
Browning said she thought Wang might need urgent medical or psychiatric help, and that the student refused to leave on her own.
The constable said she brought Wang down to the lobby, at which point the student agreed to co-operate and walked to a cruiser.
The defendants deny that Wang suffered any injuries as a result of the officer's actions. Wang claims she had injuries to her face, upper thigh, right breast, sternum and forearms.
“It’s the police, you know? I mean, who are you supposed to go to?” said Wang.
Read more on the versions of facts outlined in the notice of civil claim and the defendants' response in Monday's coverage.
With files from CTV News' Melanie Nagy, and CTV News Vancouver's St. John Alexander and Jon Woodward