Vito de la Cruz
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2016
TACOMA AFRICAN AMERICAN GIRL BRUTALIZED AT THE TACOMA MALL FILES LAWSUIT
PIERCE COUNTY, WA
On May 24, 2014, 15 year old Monique Tillman went bicycle riding with her brother. They rode to a used clothing store and recycled old clothing for cash and then had an all American meal of burgers, fries and a soda. Afterward, Monique and Eric rode their bikes home and took a short cut across the Tacoma Mall parking lot, a route they had often used in the past. They were not prepared for what happened next.
As they crossed the Tacoma Mall parking lot, Monique and her brother were confronted by brutality. They were singled out by mall security and stopped by Tacoma Police Officer Jared Williams. Officer Williams, dressed in a Tacoma Police Department uniform and fully equipped with Tacoma Police Department gear including handcuffs, sidearm and Taser, was off-duty at the time but working as a Tacoma Mall security officer.
Monique and her brother stopped when Officer Williams ordered them to do so, but that was the start of Monique’s ordeal. Monique knew her rights and demanded to know why she was being stopped. Officer Williams informed that they were causing a disturbance and were about to be “trespassed” from the Mall. Again, Monique demanded to know why she and her brother were being stopped and questioned by police. She tried to tell Officer Williams that she and her brother were on their way home. Officer Williams didn’t listen.
Monique had done nothing wrong, committed no crime, and was not under arrest. She tried to leave but Officer Williams would have none of it. He manhandled 15 year old Monique, grabbing her and pulling her off her bike, flinging her about like a rag doll. Officer Williams forcibly shoved Monique into parked cars, placing his forearm across her chest as he extracted his Taser. Heaping brutality upon indignity, Officer Williams grabbed Monique by the hair and flung her to ground. Not satisfied, Officer Williams deployed his Taser and stunned Monique before handcuffing her and charging her with resisting arrest and assault on a police officer, charges which were ultimately dismissed.
According to Tamaki Law attorney, Vito de la Cruz, for the violation of Monique Tillman’s rights, the lawsuit seeks damages from Officer Williams, the Simon Property Group who owns the Tacoma Mall and Universal Protection Services, the private security company in charge of Tacoma Mall security.
“A child riding a bike should not have to worry that a police officer will stop her without legal cause and brutalize her,” said De la Cruz. “Our communities are weary of another African American child being hurt by unwarranted and excessive police force.” Click here to view an excerpt of the Tacoma Mall video.