Notorious Kelowna RCMP officer denies assaulting woman arrested for public intoxication | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Notorious Kelowna RCMP officer denies assaulting woman arrested for public intoxication

December 15, 2020 - 7:30 AM

A Kelowna RCMP Constable is denying assault allegations in a civil suit, saying she was legally obligated to arrest the woman because she was drunk in public and likely to attempt to drive.

That’s the official response of the Attorney General, Minister of Public Safety to a recent lawsuit filed alleging Fiona Read was assaulted during arrest by Const. Lacy Browning.

Browning became notorious when a video surfaced of her violent arrest of a UBC Okanagan student in a so-called mental health wellness check in January 2020.

Browning is now facing several lawsuits since Mona Wang’s high-profile lawsuit was filed in March.

Read filed her suit after learning of Wang’s arrest and lawsuit. She alleged that Browning “grabbed her by her hair and pounded her head into the ground multiple times” during the arrest on New Year’s Eve, 2016. She said she was arrested without cause after she approached Browning looking for assistance.

But Browning said Read “was grossly intoxicated and unable to take care of herself and was a person intoxicated in public, contrary to the (law.)”

READ MORE: Second woman files lawsuit claiming she was assaulted by Kelowna RCMP constable

Browning said she responded to a complaint from the public that Read became combative with friends and partygoers when she insisted on driving. When she approached the scene, Browning said she saw Read walking and holding a set of keys, including a vehicle ignition key and Browning thought, based on her observations and the complaint, that Read intended to drive.

She said she felt obligated to arrest Read for her own safety and grabbed Read’s right arm and told her she was under arrest.

Read allegedly resisted arrest and Browning was unable to arrest her on her own. Another Kelowna officer, Const. David Gauthier arrived to assist Browning in handcuffing Read, who continued to resist arrest, according to the court documents filed Dec. 8.

They were eventually able to arrest her and put her in the back of the police car. Browning denies that Read suffered from any physical injuries as a result of the arrest and said in the response to the suit that Read never asked for medical attention nor did her injuries appear serious enough to require it.

Read alleges neither Browning or the RCMP allowed her to seek medical treatment and as a result of her injuries, had to permanently quit running and skiing.

Browning also denies that Read suffered from any mental or emotional injuries as a result of the incident and denies that her actions were a result of malice. In her response, she said if Read suffered from any injury, loss, damage or expense that she outlined in the suit, “then such injury, loss, damage or expense could have been prevented or the severity thereof reduced if (Read) had not been negligent in respect of her own actions and safety.”

The response alleges that Read also did nothing to mitigate the damages.

The response notes the civil suit is also statute-barred as a result of the suit being filed outside of the two-year time frame.

READ MORE: Civil suit alleging Kelowna Mountie's wrongdoing filed too late, defendants say

In the civil suit, Read alleges Browning assaulted her during the arrest, pulled out chunks of her hair and that a complaint to Browning’s supervisor went unheeded, which Browning denies.

“The Crown defendants submit that the Plaintiff’s action should be dismissed with costs,” according to Browning’s response.

In March, the first lawsuit against Browning was filed by Wang. The incident gathered media attention on a national scale after videos were released showing the officer dragging Wang down the hallway of her apartment complex after responding to a wellness check.

Currently, Browning is on desk duty and the Kelowna RCMP has launched a criminal investigation. Other civil suits have also been filed in recent months against Browning.

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.

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