Within two pages of Wednesday’s newspaper, readers were given two very different pictures of Canadian Mounties today.
On page A1 was the story of Mona Wang, the UBC Okanagan nursing student who is suing the RCMP — and its overseers — for brutality after she was dragged by her hair from her home to hospital where she was accused of doing illegal drugs.
If you don’t believe us, go to our website and view the video; it’s harrowing. It shows a female police officer dragging Wang face down through her residence — arms behind her head, handcuffed at the wrists — down a hallway and into the lobby. Her boyfriend had called police because he was worried Wang was about to hurt herself.
When police arrived, they found her holding an edged weapon and incoherent. Police say she took a swing at the cop. But the response is an extreme example of over-reaction.
Wang can barely stand in the video, and appears to be about 50 pounds lighter and a couple of inches shorter than the officer.
At one point, the female Mountie places her boot on Wang’s head to keep it on the tile floor while she sighs as if she can hardly imagine her misfortune for having to do her job.
Two pages later in Wednesday’s paper is a story about Lake Country Mounties saving a man’s life. They arrived at another “wellness check” to find a man threatening to hurt himself. He followed through, and police immediately jumped in to save his life.
Exactly why are police reacting so differently to seemingly similar situations? Canada’s top RCMP officer — Commissioner Brenda Lucki — must get on national TV as soon as possible and explain it. Then, she should resign, because something is very wrong with our national police.
Sadly, it’s not just Mounties.
A wellness check is what led police in New Brunswick to the door of Chantel Moore.
She was in mental distress and was holding what police said was a knife.
She didn’t respond to calls to drop her weapon, she appeared aggressive toward police, and so they shot and killed her.
What is the public left to believe after all of this?
You can’t help but look at police differently, and that takes away all the good that is being done elsewhere. How many people will decide not to call police when a loved one is threatening to hurt themselves? How many lives will be lost as a result?
What’s frustrating to us here is this incident happened in January, and we only know about it because police are being dragged into court.
It was just two weeks ago that Kelowna RCMP had to quickly call a news conference to explain what one of their own was seen — in another video — punching a man being held by two other officers. The man was aggressive, yes, and media was told the video didn’t show the entire picture.
Well, everyone gets an eyeful of what happened to Wang in that eight minutes of video.
We really hope the RCMP isn’t sitting on any more videos of arrests gone bad.
Canadians can be guilty of looking down our noses at Americans and their gun culture, and how it’s influenced issues of justice and race.
Well, we no longer have that luxury.
Ontario police shot and killed a 63-year-old schizophrenic man, Ejaz Choudry, on a wellness check just a few days ago.
A New Brunswick man — Rodney Levi — was shot and killed about the same time as Moore after he was found causing a public disturbance.
What has happened to our nation’s finest?
Perhaps it’s time to scrap the whole system and start again, Mounties and city police.
How about this? Put the guns away — keep them in the trunk of police cars like they do in other countries — train and hire more counsellors to deal with Canadians in mental distress, and let police catch the bad guys doing bad things, not good people in bad situations.
Then, Canadian governments should begin to rebuild our trust in our police officers, because it has been badly shaken.
David Trifunov is The Daily Courier’s managing editor. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-470-0741.