An online petition that originally called for the firing of an RCMP officer has now morphed into planned protests, including one in Calgary on Saturday afternoon and several in B.C. next weekend.
Last month, disturbing video was released of university nursing student Mona Wang being dragged while handcuffed and stepped on during a mental-health wellness check in Kelowna in January.
The video, which shows RCMP Const. Lacey Browning’s interactions with Wang, has sparked outrage, and as of Saturday morning, more than 360,000 people had signed the petition.
The “Justice for Mona Wang” petition called for protesters to meet in front of Calgary’s city hall on July 4 at 2 p.m., local time, “to show support for Mona as well as fight for change in wellness checks.”
About 100 protesters attended.
Calgary Coun. Sean Chu, a former member of the Calgary Police Service, was part of that protest, saying the brutality of the surveillance footage never should have happened.
“When we saw the video, I thought that’s not good,” Chu said Saturday. “During CPS training, I specifically remember we don’t do that kind of stuff. There’s no reason whatsoever and it’s wrong.”
In B.C., protests are planned for Saturday, July 11, 1-3 p.m., in Kelowna (Stuart Park), Vancouver (Art Gallery Plaza), Surrey (RCMP headquarters) and Richmond (Minoru Park).
“We are calling on the RCMP and the Canadian government to fire Officer Lacey Browning and charge her with assault,” reads part of the petition.
“She must not be allowed to hurt an already struggling person ever again.”
Wang has launched a civil suit against police and has gone public with her story.
Browning, meanwhile, has been placed on administrative leave, with police holding a press conference on Thursday, stating they hope to have a nurse paired with an officer for every mental-health-related call.
– With files from Adam Toy