(The Canadian Press)

(The Canadian Press)

Demonstrators call for end to police violence at rally for UBCO nursing student Mona Wang

Protests held in Kelowna, Vancouver, Richmond and Surrey

Shayla Raine ended her kickboxing class on January 20 to a flood of text messages asking what was going on in her apartment.

The University of British Columbia Okanagan campus student rushed home to find a trail of blood leading to the suite she shared with Mona Wang and another student.

“That was one of the scariest moments of my life,” said Raine at a Saturday rally held in support of Wang. “When I opened the suite, it looked like a crime scene. Furniture was shuffled, there was pills … it was not a good scene.”

PHOTOS: Surrey rally supports Mona Wang, calls for wellness check reform

In a statement of claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court, Wang alleges she was injured during a January wellness check by Cpl. Lacey Browning, who took Wang into custody under the Mental Health Act.

The incident spurred a number of protests in support of Wang — and against the use of force by police — in British Columbia on Saturday.

Raine was one of dozens who gathered in the rain outside of the Vancouver Art Gallery to make their voices heard. Some carried signs calling for an end to police violence and reform of the wellness check system.

Similar protests were held in Surrey, Richmond and Kelowna.

“I think it’s honestly amazing to have received so much support for everything that has happened. It’s making this a lot easier to speak out,” Wang told reporters before the event.

Wang says it’s disheartening to hear from other people of similar interactions with police.

“It’s kind of lit this fire under me knowing how often this happens. I just want more to be done,” she said.

Wang’s statement of claim alleges Browning’s conduct was “abusive and repetitive in the extreme” after the officer found her lying in a state of semi-consciousness on the floor of her apartment.

None of the allegations in the lawsuit have been proven in court and statements of defence filed by Browning, the Attorney General of Canada, and British Columbia’s minister of public safety and solicitor general deny any wrongdoing. All three are named as defendants in the case.

Surveillance video from Wang’s apartment building appears to show a female officer dragging the student face first down a carpeted hallway and into an elevator. The officer then apperars to briefly step on Wang’s head while waiting for additional first responders in the lobby.

Wang’s mother Lin Yan also spoke at rally, sharing her shock over what her daughter experienced.

“The violence done to her, bruises all over (her) body, bleeding eyes…she had to stay in hospital for three days,” she told the crowd. ”I felt deeply saddened, shocked and outraged. Isn’t the police supposed to protect us, not to turn around and assault us?”

ALSO READ: UBCO student sues Kelowna RCMP officer for alleged assault during wellness check

Destiny Baker, one of the demonstrators at the rally, said she wants people to understand many people still face oppression and that people are anrgy.

“We’re coming here today, we’re risking our lives to get a sickness because we care that much. We care about her and we care about every single other person who has gone through such injustice,” she said.

The incident led a B.C. RCMP commander to push for the expansion of teams that pair an officer and a nurse during mental health checks.

Chief Supt. Brad Haugli of the southeast district said in June that the police and crisis program has been effective in de-escalating situations involving people in crisis and helped ease the referral process when treatment is necessary.

The RCMP has not confirmed the identity of the officer shown in the video, which was disclosed by court order as part of the civil lawsuit.

Haugli said in June that a code of conduct investigation had been started and it will be sent to an external police agency for review.

Nick Wells, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

Robert Dale Stanton of Clinton was last heard from on Jan. 9, and police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating him. (Photo credit: RCMP)
Police ask for help in locating missing Clinton man

Robert Dale Stanton was last heard from on Jan. 9 and is believed to be in the Clinton/70 Mile area

From the peak of Mica Mountain in the scenic Cariboo Mountain Range, which has a view of the distant mountains in the Clearwater area, including Raft and Trophy mountains.
Teen snowmobiler says South Cariboo SAR ‘real heroes’

Youth built a snow cave after getting separated from his friends, family

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

South Cariboo Recreation Centre. Jen Blyth photo
CRD to apply for grant to install high-def cameras, audio at ice arenas for streaming

The cost of the project is estimated at $250,000 for installation at all three recreation facilities

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

Most Read