Photo taken from a surveillance video being used in a civil suit filed against the Kelowna RCMP.

Kelowna Mountie at centre of UBCO wellness check investigation faces third lawsuit

Lawsuit calls the actions of Const. Lacey Browning and the RCMP reckless, arrogant, high-handed and abusive

A third person has filed a civil lawsuit against Kelowna Mountie Lacey Browning, accusing the constable of assaulting and threatening him in front of his five-year-old son.

Browning is currently the subject of a high-profile criminal investigation into a wellness check at UBC Okanagan in January, in which she was seen dragging nursing student Mona Wang down a hallway at her residence and stepping on her head. Wang is currently suing Browning, the Attorney General of Canada, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor in relation to the incident.

A second woman filed a suit against Browning shortly after Wang’s story made national news. Fiona Read alleges Browning assaulted her after she sought help from the officer while walking home from a party in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 2016.

READ MORE: UBCO student sues Kelowna RCMP officer for alleged assault during wellness check

READ MORE: Kelowna Mountie at centre of UBCO wellness check lawsuit faces new accusations

Now, a third person has come forward, also making allegations against Browning.

In a notice of claim filed on Thursday, Sept. 10, Cole Charles Vasko alleges Browning threw him to the ground, smacked him in the face and threatened him with pepper spray and a taser — all while his young son looked on.

Vasko claims he and his son were walking home around midnight after visiting a friend’s house on March 9, 2019. During their walk, Vasko had a brief altercation with a passing motorist who almost hit him and his son. That motorist, unbeknownst to Vasko, called the police making allegations against him, causing a response.

Browning was one of the officers who attended the scene. Without warning, the suit alleges, she grabbed Vasko from behind and threw him to the ground.

“The plaintiff did not see or notice police. If there were lights on, he was not aware and he heard no sirens,” the claim reads. “Furthermore, there was no request made for him to stop.”

When Browning had Vasko pinned to the ground, she identified herself but neither she nor her colleagues explained why he was being apprehended.

Further, Vasko alleges he was taken to the detachment, dragged out of the RCMP cruiser and dropped on his face, causing further damage and bleeding. His arm was twisted behind his back until he “could feel the ligaments in his elbow begin to tear.”

The suit claims Vasko was held at the detachment for more than 10 hours before he was released without being charged. During that time, he was not advised why he was being held, breaching his charter rights.

Four months later, Vasko was charged with resisting arrest, assault and disturbing the peace — charges which were later stayed by the Crown in December 2019. The suit alleges Browning only charged Vasko in an attempt to cover up her assault against him.

READ MORE: RCMP brass addresses concerns over recent actions of police in the Southeast District

READ MORE: Protest in support student Mona Wang draws small crowd in Kelowna

The suit calls the actions of Browning and the RCMP reckless, arrogant, high-handed and abusive, and claims they show a “callous disregard for the plaintiff’s rights.”

“Browning and the RCMP have engaged in conduct that is reprehensible and deserves punishment,” stated the lawsuit.

Alongside Browning, the lawsuit also names the Attorney General of Canada and B.C. Minister of Public Safety. None of the defendants have filed a response and the claims have not yet been tested in court.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
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