The Attorney General of Canada is seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit against Kelowna Mountie Lacy Browning, offering a staunch defence of the constable in a response to one of three civil lawsuits she is facing.
Browning made national headlines in June after the revelation of video footage showing her dragging UBC Okanagan nursing student Mona Wang down a hallway and stepping on her head during a wellness check. Wang subsequently sued Browning and two more civil claims followed.
One of those suits was filed by Fiona Read, in relation to her arrest in the early morning hours of New Years Day in 2016. A response from the Attorney General to that suit claims that Const. Browning arrested Read for being drunk in public believing her to be intending to drive while intoxicated.
The response claims Read resisted arrest, prompting the use of force by Browning. With assistance from another officer, Browning eventually apprehended Read and put her in the cruiser.
Read’s lawsuit recounts the situation differently, stating “Browning grabbed the plaintiff, flipped her around, grabbed her by her hair and pounded her head into the ground multiple times causing damage to the plaintiff’s face.
“The plaintiff lost count of how many times her face was slammed into the concrete.”
The Attorney General stated that Browning “was justified in using as much force as necessary to gain control of the plaintiff.”
“The force used by Const. Browning was no more than was reasonable and necessary in the circumstances to gain direct compliance of the Plaintiff and in fact, was insufficient to gain compliance before help arrived.”
The suit, however, may not see its day in court. The Attorney General argues the claim was filed more than two years after the two-year applicable limitation period had expired.
Read’s claim states she only became aware that she had a right to complain and take legal action against Browning’s actions following media reports about the allegations made by Wang against Browning and the RCMP’s statements that “they take complaints seriously.”
Browning has been on desk duty since the incident was publicized and both internal and criminal investigations into her actions regarding the UBCO incident are ongoing.
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