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Teenager Sues Over Being Pulled From Bike, Tasered and Arrested Outside Tacoma Mall

Teenager Sues Over Being Pulled From Bike, Tasered and Arrested Outside Tacoma Mall

Postby smix » Wed May 25, 2016 7:56 pm

Teenager Sues Over Being Pulled From Bike, Tasered and Arrested Outside Tacoma Mall
The New York Times

URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/17/us/te ... -mall.html
Category: Legal
Published: May 16, 2016

Description: 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. The lawsuit was picked up by local and national news organizations and it drew strong reaction online. On Facebook, readers posted messages on the Tacoma Police Department’s site calling for Officer Williams to be fired, and they have posted the YouTube video showing Ms. Tillman, who is black, pinned against a vehicle, thrown to the ground and being tased by the white officer. As of last week, Officer Williams was still working for the department, according to The Seattle Times. Messages left for the Tacoma Police Department seeking comment were not immediately answered on Monday.



The video, just over three minutes long, shows Ms. Tillman and her older brother Eric Branch riding bicycles through the parking lot of the Tacoma Mall on May 24, 2014. They were on their way home, the lawsuit says. Two white vans pull up, including a Tacoma Police Department cruiser, with its lights flashing and air horn blaring. Officer Williams, wearing a Police Department uniform, gets out from behind the wheel of the department vehicle. The youths stop, and when Ms. Tillman ask him what they did wrong, the lawsuit says, Officer Williams reply that the two are being “trespassed” for causing a disturbance. Ms. Tillman can be seen gesticulating while speaking with the officer. She asked what they did wrong several times, the lawsuit says, and when she tried to ride off, Officer Williams pulled her off her bicycle by her left arm. The suit said he “tossed” her around 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.” Officer Williams then used his department-issued Taser on her, handcuffed her and put her into a patrol car, the lawsuit says. Ms. Tillman was charged with assaulting the officer and resisting arrest, but the charges were later dismissed at trial, the lawsuit says. The video and the lawsuit, filed in Pierce County Superior Court in Washington on May 6, were posted on the website of Tamaki Law, where Ms. Tillman’s lawyer works. In addition to Officer Williams, it names Universal Protection Services, the security company Officer Williams was working for off duty; and the Simon Property Group, owners of the Tacoma Mall, as defendants. Ten other people, some of them Tacoma police officers and others security guards, were also listed as defendants. The complaint did not name them or describe their role in the episode. Mr. de la Cruz said in an email that part of the delay in filing the lawsuit was because they had waited for the criminal case against Ms. Tillman to conclude. The suit says she had been stopped without reasonable suspicion and probable cause. Jennifer Carroll, a spokeswoman for the Tacoma Mall, declined on Monday to comment on the lawsuit but confirmed that Officer Williams had been working as a mall security officer at the time. When asked about the mall’s rules governing bicycle riding in its parking lot, she had no comment.
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Teen Sues Mall, Cop After Being Thrown Like A ‘Doll’ During Arrest

Postby smix » Wed May 25, 2016 8:20 pm

Teen Sues Mall, Cop After Being Thrown Like A ‘Doll’ During Arrest
Huffington Post

URL: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mon ... 96c1837864
Category: Legal
Published: May 16, 2016

Description: Monique Tillman was 15 when an off-duty officer violently arrested her for riding her bike in a parking lot.

tacoma-bicycle-girl-arrest.jpg

A teenager in Washington state has sued a local mall and an off-duty police officer working for the business after she was violently arrested after riding her bike in a parking lot in 2014. Monique Tillman was just 15 years old when Jared Williams — an officer for the Tacoma Police Department working off-duty for the mall’s private security firm, also named in the suit — pulled his cruiser up behind her bicycle. A video of the incident shows Tillman and her brother talking with the officer before the encounter quickly escalates, according to footage obtained by The Seattle Times. Williams is seen grabbing Tillman after she attempted to bike away, “slamming her into parked vehicles, forcibly shoving his arm into her chest, grabbing her by the hair and body-slamming her into the pavement,” the complaint reads. The officer later used his taser on her, saying she resisted arrested and tried to kick him. The suit, filed earlier this month in Pierce County Superior Court, seeks unspecified damages for physical injuries, physical and mental pain, and suffering, embarrassment and discomfort. Tillman told The Seattle Times she was “in shock” after the encounter as she had complied with all of the commands made by the officer, who said she was initially pulled over for causing a “disturbance.” She said she felt like she was targeted because she was black. “I think it was more racially motivated because I feel like if we were two white kids, they wouldn’t have stopped us,” Tillman told King5 News. “They wouldn’t have said anything to us. They definitely wouldn’t have tased me.” Tillman’s attorney, Vito de la Cruz, said she was charged in juvenile court, but all charges were later dismissed after a judge found no evidence of wrongdoing. “A child riding a bike should not have to worry that a police officer will stop her without legal cause and brutalize her,” de la Cruz told the Tacoma News Tribune in a statement. “Our communities are weary of another African American child being hurt by unwarranted and excessive police force.” Williams is still an officer with the Tacoma police department, according to the outlet. Seattle has seen a rise in protests aligned with Black Lives Matter over recent police violence against people of color in the city.
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Lawsuit: Tacoma cop at mall threw teen girl around ‘like a child’s doll’

Postby smix » Wed May 25, 2016 8:33 pm

Lawsuit: Tacoma cop at mall threw teen girl around ‘like a child’s doll’
Seattle Times

URL: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-new ... rking-lot/
Category: Legal
Published: May 11, 2016

Description: Even though Monique Tillman, now 17, knew what had happened to her during an encounter with a Tacoma police officer in a mall parking lot two years ago, seeing the video for the first time was staggering. “I was absolutely in shock, anger and disbelief,” said Tillman, who is black, about the video that shows the white officer pulling her around by her hair, throwing her to the ground, tasing and arresting her. “I feel like I was targeted because I am a person of color,” she said. “It was frustrating because I knew I didn’t do anything wrong, but I couldn’t stop them.” Tillman filed a lawsuit in Pierce County Superior Court seeking unspecified damages from the officer, the private security firm he worked for and the owners of the mall. The officer couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday, while the other parties declined to comment. The suit is being filed at a time of rising pressure on police departments to increase officer accountability for the use of force, and amid a burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement that emerged after a series of killings of black people by white police officers in cities across the country. In Seattle, community members most recently questioned police actions in the death of Che Taylor, a black man who was fatally shot by white officers in Wedgwood in February. Tillman was 15 years old on May 24, 2014, when she and her brother dropped off some clothes at a consignment shop, had a meal at McDonald’s and then headed home at about 5 p.m., cutting through the Tacoma Mall parking lot near their house, her attorney said. While she was riding, officer Jared Williams pulled his Tacoma Police Department-issued patrol vehicle behind the wheel of her bike, according to the lawsuit filed last week. She turned around and asked him what was going on and why was “he trying to hit me with his car,” she said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. According to her attorney, Vito de la Cruz, Tillman knew her rights and knew that police are required to have probable cause before detaining citizens. In a video taken by a mall surveillance camera, Tillman is seen talking to Williams and another security employee, gesticulating with her arms and pointing. Williams, who was working off-duty for mall security at the time, told Tillman that she was causing a disturbance and was going to be “trespassed,” or banned, from the mall and could be arrested if she were to return, according to the suit. As the officer appears to take a notebook from his chest pocket, Tillman can be seen in the video trying to pedal away. The suit claims Williams then “erupted and began physically assaulting and brutalizing” Tillman. The lawsuit says he tossed her around “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,” the suit claims. In the video, it also appears that Williams was holding Tillman against a vehicle by her throat for a time. Once she was immobilized, the suit claims, Williams tased Tillman and arrested her. She was charged in juvenile court with resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. Williams claimed she had tried to kick him, de la Cruz said. He said the charges against Tillman were dismissed by a judge who viewed the video and found no evidence that the officer was investigating a crime when Tillman was stopped and no evidence that she assaulted Williams. Tillman’s brother, who is one year older, was also arrested and cited for bicycling without a helmet, said de la Cruz. Williams still works for the Tacoma Police Department, according to a department spokeswoman. The owner of the mall, Simon Property Group, and the security firm for which Williams worked, Universal Protection Services, both declined to comment on the pending litigation. De la Cruz said before the encounter with Williams, Tillman was a mostly-A student who had respect for authority figures. “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, who is now studying digital media at Bates Technical College, said she still sometimes has a hard time believing what happened. “You hear about this kind of thing happening across the nation,” she said, “but it is also happening right here.”
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Tacoma African American Girl Brutalized at the Tacoma Mall Files Lawsuit

Postby smix » Wed May 25, 2016 8:44 pm

Tacoma African American Girl Brutalized at the Tacoma Mall Files Lawsuit
Tamaki Law

URL: http://tamakilaw.com/2016/05/09/tacoma- ... lawsuit-2/
Category: Press Release
Media Contact: Vito de la Cruz
Published: May 9, 2016

Description: 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. Click the link to see a copy of the Complaint for Damages. “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.”

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