Lawsuit: Off-duty cop tossed Tacoma girl like a ‘doll’

Request a free consultation

A Tacoma girl whose violent run-in with mall security was caught on camera has sued Tacoma Mall and the off-duty police officer she claims assaulted her.

Video of her May 2014 arrest shows Monique Charlene Tillman, then 15, thrown into the side of a parked car, pulled down by her hair and shocked with a Taser stun gun. Her attorneys say Tacoma Police Department Officer Jared Williams manhandled her during an unwarranted arrest.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday against Williams, Tacoma Mall’s owner and a security firm, attorneys for Tillman claim she and her brother were bicycling through the mall parking lot when the officer stopped them without cause. Williams accosted the girl when she tried to leave, according to the lawsuit, and then arrested her, claiming she had assaulted him.

“A child riding a bike should not have to worry that a police officer will stop her without legal cause and brutalize her,” attorney Vito de la Cruz said in a statement. “Our communities are weary of another African American child being hurt by unwarranted and excessive police force.”

Calls to the Tacoma Mall’s owner, Simon Property Group, and security contractor Universal Services of America were not returned Tuesday afternoon. A spokeswoman for the Tacoma Police Department, which is not named in the lawsuit, declined to comment on the incident.

Tillman and her brother had spent the day of the arrest selling used clothes to buy themselves food. De la Cruz, an attorney with Tamaki Law, said the teens were cutting through the mall parking lot on their way home when Williams stopped them.

According to the lawsuit, Williams told the teens they were going to be banned from mall property for creating a disturbance. The girl argued with the off-duty officer and then attempted to leave.

Williams pulled Tillman off her bicycle as her older brother looked on. The altercation, captured on mall security video, saw the girl tossed around “like a child’s doll,” according to the lawsuit.

Tillman was arrested at the scene and later charged with fourth-degree assault in Pierce County Juvenile Court. Those charges were dismissed months later.

The teen’s attorneys claim Williams assaulted the girl during the arrest, and that the police officer, the mall owner and the mall security contractor were negligent.

The lawsuit is currently pending in Pierce County Superior Court. No specific money demand has been made.

To view the article in full, click here.