(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

Michele Babchuk with Premier John Horgan and Clerk of the Legislature Katy Ryan-Lloyd. (BC Legislature)
Babchuk sworn in to B.C.’s 42nd Legislature

Oath ceremony held with MLAs connecting through video

Over 6,000 customers were affected by the power outage that started on Nov. 17. (BC Hydro photo)
BC Hydro crews worked 16 hour days to turn the North Island’s power back on

BC Hydro runs one transmission line to Northern Vancouver Island so there was no backup line.

U’mista Cultural Centre is closed to the public until further notice, as of Nov. 23, 2020. (Zoe Ducklow photo)
U’mista closed until further notice due to new restrictions

North Island on high alert against COVID-19

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Beaver Creek RCMP Cpl. Robert Drapeau, left to right, Gary Bath, Lynn Marchessault, Payton Marchessault, Rebecca Marchessault and Tim Marchessault pose in this recent handout photo near the Canada-U.S. border crossing near Beaver Creek, Yukon. A family reunion trip for the woman from Georgia that left them stranded ended on a bright note when Bath drove them to the Alaskan border following an appeal for help. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Gary Bath *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Help from B.C. man allows American family to reunite in Alaska

Lynn Marchessault drove from Georgia to the Alaska border to join her husband, who serves in U.S. military

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Parksville’s French Creek Harbour experienced a diesel spill on Nov. 23 after a barge and fishing vessel collided. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Coast Guard cleans up diesel spill in Parksville’s French Creek Harbour

Barge carrying fuel truck collides with fishing vessel

Stock photo
Senior from Gibsons caught viewing child porn sentenced to 10 months

74-year-old pleaded guilty after police seized 1,500-2,500 images

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Most Read