An RCMP superintendent has apologized to the woman a police officer dragged facedown in handcuffs during a wellness check.
In a press conference Thursday, Chief Superintendent Brad Haugli, commander of the B.C. RCMP’s southeast district, said he wants a nurse to be paired up with a police officer at every mental health call.
Haugli made the comments after video footage surfaced showing Kelowna RCMP Cpl. Lacy Browning dragging UBC Okanagan student Mona Wang from her apartment to the building’s entrance, stepping on Wang’s head at one point and later pulling her by her hair.
The security footage came from a lawsuit Wang, a nursing student, filed against the RCMP. It was first published by Castanet.
Haugli said he was “deeply concerned” when he saw the video. “And I am very sorry to Miss Wang for what occurred,” he said.
“My vision would be that there would be a nurse accompanying every police officer to every mental health call.”
Wang told CTV she believes having a nurse present at mental health calls would create “another watchful eye so that they don’t take advantage of someone who’s already vulnerable.”
According to the lawsuit, Wang’s boyfriend called the police to request a wellness check in January.
The lawsuit said Browning didn’t announce herself as a cop and arrived to find Wang semi-conscious on the bathroom floor. The statement of claim alleges Browning proceeded to kick Wang in the stomach, step on her arm, and call her a “stupid idiot.”
The lawsuit claims Browning repeatedly punched Wang, leaving her with “bruises to the face, broken blood vessels to the left eye, swollen right eye, and bruising to the right temple.”
At the hospital later, the lawsuit alleges Browning said Wang was high on methamphetamines, but she had no drugs in her system, according to a toxicology report.
In a response to the lawsuit, which also names the B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Attorney General of Canada as defendants, the RCMP said Wang’s dog attacked Browning and that she was self-harming, and “behaving in a bizarre and erratic manner.” The RCMP alleges that Browning had to strike Wang because Wang became violent while being arrested. The RCMP’s response doesn’t address some of the most egregious behavior in the video, including why Browning stepped on Wang’s head and pulled her hair.
Haugli’s apology comes in light of calls to defund the police due to their systemic abuse of Black and Indigenous people.
Police in Canada have killed at least five people during wellness checks since April.
On June 4, an Edmundston, New Brunswick police officer shot and killed Chantel Moore, 26, a member of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, during a wellness check.
According to Global News, the officer, who has not been named, is back on the job after being on paid leave.