RCMP officer captured on video dragging nursing student is charged with assault
The officer was sent to conduct wellness check on Mona Wang in January 2020
A Kelowna RCMP officer, seen on surveillance video dragging a young woman down a hallway and stepping on her head in January 2020, has been charged with one count of assault.
The charge against Const. Lacy Browning was announced on Monday by the B.C. Prosecution Service after an investigation by the RCMP which was reviewed by Abbotsford police.
The video came to light as part of a civil lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court by Mona Wang, who was a nursing student at the University of British Columbia's Okanagan campus in Kelowna at the time of the incident.
The lawsuit said Wang's boyfriend called the RCMP to request the welfare check and alleges that Browning's conduct was "abusive" after the officer found the student lying in a state of semi-consciousness in her apartment.
The defendants said the officer used no more force than was reasonable and necessary.
A statement of defence also alleges the student began yelling and swinging her arms at the female Mountie, who proceeded to strike Wang with an open palm in order to subdue and arrest her under the Mental Health Act
In June, the RCMP announced a settlement had been reached in the lawsuit.
WATCH | Video captures Mona Wang being dragged:
The video shows Browning dragging Wang down a building's hallway and then into the lobby as other people are coming in and out of the building.
At one point when Wang lifts her head, Browning steps down on it, forcing her head to the floor.
"The charge [of assault] was approved by a Crown counsel with no prior or current connection with the officer," the B.C. Prosecution Service said in a written statement.
When reached on Monday, Wang said she is relieved to hear news of the charges.
"I'm just really, really glad that it has happened, despite how long it took," she said.
"People who struggle with mental health are not criminals and thus they shouldn't be treated as such."
Wang added that her case serves as an example as to why there needs to be changes to the way wellness checks are handled by police.
Browning's first appearance in Kelowna Provincial Court is scheduled for Sept. 14.