The case of a woman being mistreated during a police wellness check that was reviewed by Abbotsford police has been returned for further investigation, say B.C. RCMP.
Mona Wang, the woman at the centre of the case, called the news surprising, and not in a good way.
Earlier this year, Wang was handcuffed, dragged down a hallway and stepped on by a police officer during a wellness check-in Kelowna.
Video of the incident went viral, leading to the officer being assigned to administrative duties, an investigation, plus an external review by the Abbotsford Police Department.
This week, B.C. RCMP said the matter has been returned to the RCMP with further investigation required.
RCMP said the internal code of conduct matter remains ongoing.
In an interview with Global News following Monday’s news, Wang called the update concerning.
“When the sergeant came to us and kind of questioned me, the way that he phrased it was that they were going to send it to Abbotsford, and then straight to Crown counsel,” said Wang.
“And so it really was a shock (Monday morning) when I woke up and saw the news. Even more odd — the fact that I found out through the news.”
Wang claims police didn’t contact her or her lawyer about the latest update.
“During the investigation, the sergeant who had questioned me did say that he was going to keep us all updated,” said Wang. “But I honestly had no idea of anything that was happening.”
Asked what the update means, Wang said she had no idea, but added “it seems like they’re stalling a little bit.”
She also said, “it’s been a few months, and it’s kind of obvious that it’s not really urgent or a priority in the eyes of the RCMP, which really makes me doubt that their apology was sincere.”
Wang continued, saying “if there’s no actions that follow through after the apology, it’s not really much use. And so far, they really haven’t proven that.”
She also said it’s “police investigating police. Even if Abbotsford feels like they don’t have any biases, it’s kind of that, you know, a subconscious bias that kind of comes through a lot of the time.
“It just doesn’t make sense to me why they don’t have a third party that would research into it and come to a conclusion.”
British Columbia’s former solicitor general, Kash Heed, said for a review to be returned for further investigation “is very unusual.”
Speaking to Global News, Heed said “as a matter of fact, I haven’t heard of this before. When you’re doing a bit of a management review, yes, of course. That’s usually what happens. But a criminal investigation, no, you don’t send it back to the same agency that sent it to you.”
Heed said reviews usually go straight to the justice branch for review.
“And if the criminal justice branch requires more of an investigation, that would go back either to the Abbotsford police or the RCMP,” said Heed.
“But you’ve got to question the integrity of the investigation from the outset, if in fact you’ve had another police agency review a criminal investigation and then it appears there’s some steps missing in this investigation, or material that’s required, and it goes back to the original agency.”
Heed also said what’s important is “that the RCMP did not bring this forward on their own. It was because of media, in fact, where this video was displayed graphically throughout British Columbia, and elsewhere across Canada, that the matter came to the attention that required this investigation.”
He said it appears police are not taking the usual administrative steps.
“More importantly,” he said, “now do we question other criminal investigations that don’t necessarily involve a police officer, where in fact another agency may have to review it. I’m not too sure what’s going on here, but it is troubling, it’s disturbing, and the public should be made aware of what is going on so we can ensure we have the credibility that investigations would be done at the outset in a satisfactory fashion by our police agencies.”