Kelowna residents rally for woman suing RCMP in aftermath of wellness check | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Current Conditions

-1.0°C

Kelowna News

Kelowna residents rally for woman suing RCMP in aftermath of wellness check

Image Credit: Kathy Michaels
July 11, 2020 - 2:05 PM

Kelowna residents called for changes to RCMP protocols Saturday in a protest organized to support a UBC Okanagan nursing student who is suing the RCMP for damages related to a 2020 wellness check.

"I have a 20-year-old daughter and I just thought 'what if it had been my daughter?' That young girl called for help and the visual image is so devastating that I can't help but be emotional, as a parent. It shocked the whole city," Kelowna Coun. Mohini Singh said.

"I think taking a high level view, we do have mental health services but we're all, in my opinion, siloed ... If there was a trained professional with the officer, maybe the situation would have been different."

Justice for Mona Wang rallies were held July 11 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in Kelowna, Richmond, Surrey and Vancouver. Another rally was held in Calgary last week. Kelowna's rally saw about 50 residents show up, including Kelowna Coun. Mohini Singh who teared up during the event.

Mona Wang, the student at the centre of the rallies, did not attend as she was at Vancouver's protest.

 

READ MORE: Justice for Mona Wang rallies to be held in Kelowna, Richmond, Surrey and Vancouver

That didn't deter those who joined the protest and added their voices to the call for change.

"I don't want this to happen to my kids," said health worker Shui Lee, during Saturday's Kelowna protest, saying that the RCMP is generally very helpful but these types of incidents need to be addressed.

A video that has been circulating widely shows Wang, with hands cuffed behind her back, being dragged on her stomach down a hallway of her Academy Way apartment building by an RCMP officer identified as Const. Lacy Browning.

Once in the lobby, the officer can be seen at one point stepping on Wang's head then later lifting it. They appear to have a conversation and eventually, Wang is lifted up and walks with Const. Browning from the building.

The matter has been making its way through the courts since March 26 when Wang filed a civil lawsuit addressing the Jan. 20 incident. The RCMP responded earlier this month.

Wang's lawsuit indicates she was in distress and was abused in her moment of need by the very people who are supposed to protect her, while the RCMP says the officer at the centre of the controversy was doing her job as expected, given Wang's erratic behaviour which included what appears to be a suicide attempt and "asking to be killed" by the officer.

The video has prompted a call for more nursing resources to accompany police to wellness checks. But the call may go unheeded.

“That model isn’t, perhaps, the most effective use of that registered nurse’s time,” Karen Bloemink, vice-president for clinical operations for Interior Health, north, told iNFOnews.ca, July 3.

“It may be more effective to have that registered nurse embedded in a team-based model of service where the care is delivered in a proactive and an upstream way to, hopefully, have the preventative impact that we would like to see over the long term for individuals that have mental health needs.”

Her comments came one day after RCMP Southeast Division Chief Supt. Brad Haugli called on Interior Health to assess all mental health calls for assistance and about a week after Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran said his calls for an expansion to the PACT program were being held up by Interior Health not supplying more staff.

 


To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

 

News from © iNFOnews, 2020
iNFOnews

  • Popular vernon News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile