Protesters call for changes to wellness checks after video shows apparent assault
VANCOUVER -- Supporters of Mona Wang, the UBC nursing student who was allegedly dragged and stepped on by an RCMP officer during a wellness check, spoke out at Vancouver rally Saturday.
Among them was Wang’s roommate Shayla Raine.
Raine explained that she wasn’t home on the January night when security video captured Kelowna RCMP officer Cpl. Lacy Browning executing the now controversial wellness check at her apartment.
“When I came back and opened the suite it looked like a crime scene,” she said. “I had to stuff my nose with tissue because the smell of blood.”
Troubling video of the incident emerged in June, prompting the head of B.C. RCMP’s southeast division to issue an apology to Mona Wang.
“When I first saw the video I was deeply concerned. And I’m very sorry to Ms. Wang for what occurred,” said Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli on July 2.
Mona Wang has launched a lawsuit claiming she was assaulted and abused by Browning who was dispatched to Wang’s residence to check on her wellbeing.
Surveillance video shows a handcuffed Wang, dressed only in a bra and leggings, being dragged facedown by her wrists and arms down a hallway and through the building’s lobby by the female officer.
No video has emerged to show what took place in the apartment but Raine believes much of the alleged assault happened out of view of cameras.
“Mona could not have possibly gotten broken blood vessels in her eyes or bruises on all of her legs and abdomen from only being dragged down the carpet or having her head stepped on or hair pulled,” Raine said.
“There was definitely more that happened inside the apartment and it was evidently clear from the crime scene I had to clean up."
At the Vancouver rally close to 100 people also gathered to support Wang’s advocacy for an end to wellness checks without mental health professionals present.
None of the allegations against Browning have been proven in court. The RCMP has said a code of conduct review and a criminal investigation is underway.
"The RCMP will also be asking an outside police department to independently review the findings of our criminal investigation once completed," Staff-Sgt. Janelle Shoihet of the B.C. RCMP previously told CTV News Vancouver.