RCMP settles civil lawsuit with UBCO student after violent wellness check

RCMP settles with student

A UBCO student at the centre of a violent wellness check that made national headlines last year has settled her lawsuit against the Kelowna RCMP.

Const. Lacy Browning was captured on surveillance footage dragging nursing student Mona Wang down the hallway of her apartment building, before stepping on her head while she was handcuffed. The footage became public in June 2020 through a civil lawsuit launched by Wang months prior.

In a statement to Castanet, Wang called the out-of-court settlement a “compromise.”

“Which means no one got exactly what they wanted,” she said, adding she settled “to move on with my life.”

“Despite this, I expect the justice system to do what is right by taking steps to ensure that Lacy Browning is not allowed to continue acting as an RCMP member. She is a disgrace to the RCMP with a history of assaulting vulnerable people, and she will not stop,” Wang said.

Const. Browning was called to Wang’s apartment on Jan. 20, 2020 after a friend called police concerned that she was a danger to herself. Wang had not been accused of any crime.

The criminal investigation into Browning’s actions during the incident is now in the hands of prosecutors after the probe into the incident moved much slower than promised.

On July 2, 2020, RCMP Southeast District Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli said he expected the criminal investigation into Const. Browning's actions to be in the hands of the BC Prosecution Service within two weeks. He offered an apology to Wang at the time, saying he was "deeply concerned" by the video.

And while the investigation was initially completed by mid-July 2020, the Abbotsford Police Department reviewed the case and sent it back to the Kelowna RCMP for further investigation. The file was finally handed over to the Crown in mid-April.

At this point, it is anyone’s guess how long the BC Prosecution Service will take reviewing the file.

“Many individuals who have experienced assault by the RCMP are suffering in silence – not only from the trauma, but also the lack of access to justice,” Wang continued in her statement. “My case was settled because a lawyer stopped for five minutes to listen to my complaint and believed me. I am grateful that there are lawyers out there that will listen, and I will watch and see if I will get complete justice by Lacy Browning being convicted for the inhumane assault that I suffered.”

“If there is anything to take away from my story, it is to treat each other with kindness and reach out for help if you need it. You are not alone, and you deserve happiness,” Wang concluded.

In previous interviews, Wang has said she is training to become a psychiatric nurse.

Beyond confirming that a settlement was reached, RCMP declined to comment, noting details of the settlement are "covered under a confidentiality clause."

After the Mona Wang incident gained widespread attention, two other Kelowna residents filed civil lawsuits against Const. Browning, for alleged incidents in 2016 and 2019. She remains assigned to administrative duties. An online petition calling for her termination and prosecution sits at nearly 390,000 signatures.

with files from Nich Johansen

If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, help can be found at the Canada Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-833-456-4566 or BC Crisis Center: 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE)

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