One of Kelowna RCMP’s top Mounties has released a statement in response to a civil claim filed against one of its officers alleging assault during an arrest made in January of this year.
In a news release Tuesday (June 23), Insp. Laura Livingstone stated she wants to ensure the public that the RCMP understands and respects the concerns raised over the recent release of surveillance video showing the incident.
UBCO student Mona Wang alleges she was assaulted by Const. Lacy Browning while the officer was conducting a wellness check, documents show.
The alleged assault was filmed by a surveillance video taken from inside the student’s on-campus apartment building and the plaintiff’s lawyer is using the video in an attempt to prove the officer used excessive force.
The video shows Browning dragging Wang, who is handcuffed, on her stomach out of the apartment down a carpeted hallway.
Wang alleges she suffered injuries to her face, upper thigh, right breast, sternum and forearms.
It’s also alleged Browning punched Wang in the face causing significant bruising to her temple and broken blood vessels to the left eye.
Livingstone offered only a limited response to the matter, citing the incident being before the courts. However, she said that the RCMP respects the judicial process and will continue to respond officially to the allegations made in the civil claim through the courts.
“Once we received the videos the materials were reviewed immediately specifically as it relates to the police officer’s actions. As a result of the review, we can confirm that an internal Code of Conduct and criminal investigation were initiated and they are ongoing,” Livingstone said.
She also said that the Kelowna detachment has been fielding several calls from the public who are voicing their concerns over the incident. Browning has been placed on administrative duties and her duty status will be subject to continual assessment.
Browning has filed a response to the civil claim disputing the allegations, claiming that Wang had a weapon in her hand and believed she could become combative.
UBC Student Union president Ali Poostizadeh also spoke out on the matter stating the board of directors was shocked and saddened to see the way a UBC Okanagan student was treated by an RCMP officer during a wellness check.
This is the second civil suit, brought forward against a Kelowna RCMP officer alleging aggressive use of force to be filed in court this month.
In regards to the other investigation, filed by Tyler Russell against the Attorney General of Canada, the B.C. Minister of Justice, and Const. Siggy Pietrzak, the RCMP will also be asking an outside police department to independently review the findings of the criminal investigation once completed.
“Both investigations are a priority and we ask for the public to respect that they are underway. Those directly involved are being held accountable,” Livingstone said.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.