(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.

Just Posted

(File photo)
Poverty reduction survey identifies 10 poverty themes

Poverty reduction plan will be finalized in July 2021

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly says he has no intentions of leaving the Green Party. (House of Commons image)
Island Green MPs have “no intention” of leaving the party after ‘heartbreaking’ departure

Manly, May only remaining Green MPs after Jenica Atwin left for the Liberals over internal disputes

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Justine Keefer’s Cedar Elementary School Grade 6/7 class put together a student paper, as part of a school project. Pictured here Andrew Gregory, left, Felix Leduc, Addison Armstrong, Lucia Walker and Anise Dick. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Cedar Elementary School students create their own newspaper

Grade 6/7 class publishes Wolf Pack News as part of language arts and social studies

Évangeline Laforest and Oscar McClements’ invention La Méduse (the Jellyfish) removes oil from the ocean. The invention was one of 15 out of 700 inventions submitted to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Little Inventors contest. (Cole Schisler photo)
‘Little Inventors’ from Ladysmith showcased in national science challenge

Évangeline Laforest and Oscar McClements were one of 15 finalists in the Little Inventors Challenge

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read