(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

Sawyer, a northern saw-whet owl that became synonymous with Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society, passed away peacefully over the weekend. Sawyer would make numerous public appearances with MARS staff in and around the Comox Valley and Campbell River. Photo supplied.
Popular MARS ambassador owl dies

Submitted MARS Wildlife Rescue has lost one of its mightiest ambassadors. Tiny… Continue reading

442 Transport and Rescue Squadron from 19 Wing Comox assisted in helping an injured hiker down from the top of Mt. Benson near Nanaimo Jan. 23. Photo by 19 Wing Comox
With video: 442 Squadron assists mid-Island mountain rescue

The crew on the Buffalo hand-launched 15 flares

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Comox Valley artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

Comox Valley medical clinics are all open, including the availability to book face-to-face care (i.e. for a physical examination) as per your clinic’s protocol (most clinics operate a “virtual care first” policy). ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
Comox Valley doctors offer answers to local COVID health care questions

Public service announcement submitted by the Comox Valley Division of Family Practice

People skate on a lake in a city park in Montreal, Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
The end of hugs: How COVID-19 has changed daily life a year after Canada’s 1st case

Today marks the one year anniversary of COVID-19 landing in Canada

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

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

ICBC has seen savings on crash and injury claims in the COVID-19 pandemic, with traffic on B.C. roads reduced. (Penticton Western News)
ICBC opens online calculator for rate savings starting in May

Bypassing courts expected to save 20% on average

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
16% boom predicted for B.C. real estate sales in 2021: experts

Along with sales, the average price of homes is also predicted to rise, by nearly 8 percent

The trial of Harry Richardson began Monday at the Nelson courthouse. File photo
Trial of man accused of shooting RCMP officer in West Kootenay in 2019 begins

Harry Richardson is facing five charges in a Nelson courtroom

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

Brad Windsor has been an advocate for years to get sidewalks installed along Milburn Drive in Colwood, but to no avail. He wants city council to commit to making Milburn a priority lane for sidewalk construction in the future. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dramatic crash caught on B.C. home security camera

Angry residents say video highlights need for sidewalks in B.C. residential neighbourhood

An independent review is underway at the Royal BC Museum after employees called out systemic, individual racism at the institution. (Twitter/RBCM)
Royal BC Museum faces allegations of systemic racism, toxic work environment

Formal investigation, survey and training launched at museum

In this May 23, 2012, file photo, an approximately 2-year-old female cougar runs away from a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife trap after being released northeast of Arlington, Wash. A cougar has attacked and severely mauled a man in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Mark Mulligan/The Daily Herald via AP
Cougar euthanized in B.C. after severely mauling a man north of Vancouver

Whistler RCMP officers were first on the scene and shot and killed a cougar prowling nearby

Most Read