Second woman files lawsuit claiming she was assaulted by Kelowna RCMP constable | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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

Kelowna RCMP Const. Lacy Browning is being sued by UBCO student Mona Wang. A second woman has filed a lawsuit against constable.
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July 16, 2020 - 2:41 PM

A second lawsuit has been filed against Kelowna RCMP Const. Lacey Browning accusing the officer of assaulting a woman while on duty.

In court documents filed Wednesday, July 16, Fiona Read, identified as a Westbank resident, alleges she was walking home from a New Year's Eve party, Jan. 1, 2016 when she met Const. Lacey Browning after seeing a parked RCMP vehicle. She approached the RCMP vehicle to ask for assistance and said she felt “in need of protection.”

Read alleges she had left the party because she had planned to stay at a friend’s house next door but wanted to go back to her own residence since she felt unsafe at her friend’s after they didn’t want her to leave, despite leaving her car keys and vehicle behind.

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

Read alleges that after speaking with Browning, and confirming with the officer that her name was Fiona, Browning “grabbed her by her hair and pounded her head into the ground multiple times.”

Read was then allegedly handcuffed by Browning and pulled from the ground by her arms. As a result of the incident, Read alleges there was also bruising on the left side of her face and tenderness on the back of her head where Browning had “pulled out chunks of her hair.”

She said she was terrified on the drive to the detachment. She was allegedly detained for six hours. The following day, she tried to make a complaint to Browning’s supervisor, which was not accepted, she said.

Read only became aware she had the right to complain and take legal action following the recent media reports and allegations against Browning.

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

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

Currently, Browning is on desk duty and the Kelowna RCMP has launched a criminal investigation. An online petition calling for Browning’s firing was also started shortly after the videos were released, and has 375,000 signatures as of July 16.

Read is seeking general damages from Browning and the RCMP.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

"We understand that a new civil claim has been filed and deals with allegations from an incident in January 2016 that was not previously reported to the RCMP. While we have not been formally served, typically what happens is that once served the civil matter will be reviewed and addressed by the Department of Justice through the normal civil processes. The allegations are also being reviewed to determine if there are any other actions that need to be taken," B.C. RCMP senior media relations officer Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said in an email.

"With respect to the ongoing matters, we can confirm that the criminal investigation into the previous allegations has been completed and is now subject to an external reviewed by the Abbotsford Police Department. Once they have completed their review, and if there are no other investigative requirements, the materials will then be sent to the BC Prosecution Service for charge assessment. The internal Code of Conduct investigation is also continuing and a public complaint has been received. The police office remains on administrative leave, and their duty status is subject to continual assessment," Shoihet said.

— This story was updated at 8:36 a.m. July 17, 2020 to include a comment from RCMP.

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