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A Washington teen is suing a mall and the off-duty cop who she alleges assaulted her as she was riding a bike through the mall’s parking lot.
Monique Charlene Tillman accuses mall officer Jared Williams of slamming her against a parked car, ripping out her hair and then tasering her on May 24, 2014, while she was riding a bike with her brother at Tacoma Mall parking lot.
The then 15-year-old teen was out on some errands with her brother, Eric. They dropped off some clothes at a consignment shop, had a bite to eat at a McDonald’s and were taking a shortcut through the parking lot on their way to home, when the police officer attacked them.
The cop also yelled at the girl that she was “trespassing” and that she would be banned from the mall, even though a child crossing a parking lot on a bike is not a criminal offense.
“I was absolutely in shock, anger and disbelief,” said Tillman. “I feel like I was targeted because I am a person of color. It was frustrating because I knew I didn’t do anything wrong, but I couldn’t stop them.”
Two years later, the now 17-year-old Tillman has filed a lawsuit in Pierce County Superior Court that alleges Williams treated the teenager “like a child’s doll, slamming her into parked vehicles, forcibly shoving his forearm into her chest, grabbing her by the hair and body slamming her into the pavement.”
According to Vito de la Cruz, Tillman’s attorney, Tillman knew police are required to have a probable cause for arresting a person.
“She now has an utter lack of the trust that a child should have for police who are sworn to protect, serve and not abuse,” said de la Cruz. “She looks with great suspicion at police officers driving down the street and wonders, ‘Am I going to be stopped again?’?”
Tillman is seeking unspecified damages from the officer, the security firm he was contracted under and Tacoma Mall itself. As of yet, none of the parties have commented about the incident and Williams is still working for the mall.
The lawsuit comes at a time when there is a rising pressure from the black community to hold law enforcement officers accountable for excessive force.