Monique Tillman was 15 years old when, she says, a police officer pulled her off her bicycle, slammed her to the ground and tased her after she rode through a mall parking lot in Tacoma, Wash. The arrest, in which she was accused of causing a disturbance, was caught on surveillance video. Now, the 17-year-old is suing the officer, the mall and some of its security guards.
The footage of Ms. Tillman’s arrest in 2014 by the officer, Jared Williams, is the latest video to garner national attention and spur debate over what activists have denounced as the unduly harsh treatment of youths, mostly black or Hispanic, by police officers, including recent cases in South Carolina and Texas.
The complaint accuses Officer Williams of negligence in his treatment of a minor while working off duty as a security guard at the mall, and it seeks unspecified damages for physical and mental harm.
“A child riding a bike should not have to worry that a police officer will stop her without legal cause and brutalize her,” Ms. Tillman’s lawyer, 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.”
“I just feel like they should be held accountable for what they did to me,” Ms. Tillman told Q13 News, a local TV station last week.
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