Sophia Koehler on June 25, 2020 two days after she says she was violently arrested at her home during a mental health wellness check. An RCMP spokesperson said Koehler did not co-operate with police, something she denies. (Paul Henderson/ The Chilliwack Progress)

Sophia Koehler on June 25, 2020 two days after she says she was violently arrested at her home during a mental health wellness check. An RCMP spokesperson said Koehler did not co-operate with police, something she denies. (Paul Henderson/ The Chilliwack Progress)

Fraser Valley woman complains of violent RCMP takedown during wellness check

Mounties respond that she was not co-operating during Mental Health Act apprehension

WARNING: This story discusses suicide.

Sophia Koehler was having a terrible Tuesday two weeks ago when her spouse dialed 911 looking for help, concerned she would hurt herself.

Koehler has four daughters but suffers from anxiety and depression, and a recent suicide attempt led to her children being apprehended earlier that day, June 23.

Koehler was harming herself, according to her partner Cory Burger who called for help.

What Burger hoped for, and Koehler expected looking back in hindsight, was help and compassion and safety. What the 34-year-old instead received was a facial injury and bruising all over her body in the driveway in front of her house, injuries she says were inflicted by an impatient RCMP officer.

Sophia Koehler on June 23, 2020 at Chilliwack General Hospital after she was apprehended by Mounties after a mental health wellness check. An RCMP spokesperson said Koehler did not co-operate with police, something she denies. (Submitted to The Chilliwack Progress)

“Look at what they do as their way of helping me,” Koehler told The Progress in an interview two days after the incident, as she pointed to a large scab next to her eye.

Incidents of violence alleged against RCMP officers during mental health wellness checks have been prominent in the news lately. Most recently, last week, Kelowna RCMP commander Chief Supt. Brad Haugli called for more nurses during wellness checks.

Haugli’s response came after a video was released of a student being dragged down a hall by an RCMP officer.

• READ MORE: Kelowna RCMP commander calls for more nurses during wellness checks after complaint

• READ MORE: B.C. First Nation wants murder charge laid against police officer who shot Chantel Moore

With three police officers at her Carleton Street residence on June 23, Koehler admits she was arguing with the officers about going with them, an apprehension police decided was needed under the Mental Health Act.

She said she was in the passenger seat of her minivan, and asked one officer if she could look for a cigarette. He said OK, she reached to grab her purse when a different officer became impatient, according to her version of events, grabbed her “and smashed my head into the pavement in front of my house.”

Chilliwack RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Krista Vrolyk confirmed the police responded to a complaint of a woman in a vehicle harming herself, in distress.

“Our members did attend and determined that she needed to be apprehended under the Mental Health Act and taken to the hospital to be assessed,” Vrolyk said in a statement. “The individual did not co-operate and resisted, but was eventually apprehended, placed into the back of a police vehicle and immediately taken to the local hospital.”

Vrolyk said that after a medical assessment it was determined that none of her injuries met the threshold for notifying the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of B.C.

IIO is the civilian-led police oversight agency responsible for investigating incidents of “death or serious harm” that may have been the result of police actions or inactions.

Told by The Progress that IIO was not involved, Koehler was dismayed.

“What the f—- do the injuries have to be? A broken arm?” she asked. “I have a concussion.”

She added that she already suffered from severe depression and anxiety, which is related to why her children were taken away on June 23. After the incident with police, she said her anxiety is worse, and the sight of police gets her very upset leading to the need for medication.

Koehler has filed a public complaint against the RCMP hoping, she says, to hold the police accountable for her injuries.

“Being as it was a mental health check, I don’t think it was appropriate,” she said. “I have scar on my face forever. I wasn’t resisting at all. I got mad when they slammed me down on the ground.”

She said she has her spouse Cory and a neighbour who corroborate what happened that day.

In response, Chilliwack Mounties expressed confidence that a public complaint investigation involving evidence from the complainant, officers, witnesses, police radio recording and video recordings will get to the truth of what took place.

”We are confident that the totality of information will provide a clearer picture of what actually occurred,” Sgt. Vrolyk said. “We welcome this process in order to ensure the facts are gathered and any concerns are addressed as soon as possible. Once a public complaint investigation is completed, the complainant is provided with a copy of the results.”


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

@TheProgress
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Action at the Nanaimo Curling Centre. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo sports organizations qualify for COVID-19 relief funding

Province announces support for curling, rowing, gymastics, softball, rugby, squash, football clubs

Juno-winning Toronto dub poet Lillian Allen is VIU’s Gustafson Distinguished Poet for 2021. (Photo courtesy Karen Lee)
Juno-winning dub poet is VIU’s Gustafson Distinguished Poet this year

Lillian Allen will present online lecture, reading and Q-and-A

FOI records provided to the News Bulletin from the City of Nanaimo in 2018. (News Bulletin file photo)
Samra’s numerous FOI requests to City of Nanaimo aren’t ‘vexatious,’ privacy commissioner decides

Former CAO says records will assist her in a future B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Nanaimo RCMP seek the owners of two sets of golf clubs found Jan. 19 at the old Howard Johnson hotel site on Terminal Avenue in Nanaimo. (Submitted photo)
Police seek owners of golf clubs found at old Howard Johnson hotel in Nanaimo

Two sets of clubs found Tuesday near shuttered hotel on Terminal Avenue

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two Nanaimo care-home residents have died during COVID-19 outbreak

Death reported Monday was the second related to Chartwell Malaspina outbreak, says Island Health

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

The top part of the fossil burrow, seen from the side, with feathery lines from the disturbance of the soil – thought to be caused by the worm pulling prey into the burrow. (Paleoenvironntal Sediment Laboratory/National Taiwan University)
PHOTOS: SFU researchers find evidence of ‘giant’ predatory worms on ocean floor

Fossils found the prove the existence of an ancient Taiwanese worm as long as two metres

RCMP officers provide policing for 63 B.C. municipalities under a provincial formula based on population. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. communities warned of upcoming RCMP unionization costs

Starting salaries for city police officers are 30% higher

(Pxhere)
B.C. nurse suspended after using Tensor bandage to trap long-term care patient in room

Susan Malloch voluntarily agreed to a three-day suspension of her certificate of registration

Abbotsford’s Skully White (left), who donated his kidney in December, has started a campaign to find other recipients and donors. The first candidate is retired police officer Gavin Quon. White owns and operates a hotdog stand, Lullys Food Experience, out of the Abbotsford Canadian Tire parking lot. (Facebook photo)
After donating his kidney, Abbotsford hotdog king starts donor campaign

Skully White donated his kidney to customer Tim Hiscock in December

Toronto-based director Michelle Latimer was recently scrutinized after years of claiming she was of Algonquin and Metis descent. (CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young)
Haida activist calls for hefty fines, jail time against those who claim to be Indigenous

Filmmaker Tamara Bell proposing the Indigenous Identity Act – to dissuade ‘Indigenous identity theft’

(File)
Man allegedly bites Vancouver cop during arrest for outstanding warrant

The officer was treated in hospital for the bite wounds

(File Photo)
Interior Health says COVID positivity rates in Fernie area actually 10-12%

IH say the rates are not as high as previously claimed by the region’s top doctor

Most Read