Lawsuit Alleges Officer Assaulted 15 Year Old Girl In Mall Parking Lot

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

monique-tillman-tacoma-mall-cameraThe family of a then fifteen year old girl filed a lawsuit against a Tacoma, Washington mall and its security contractor alleging a Tacoma Police Officer used excessive force during what plaintiff’s claim is an unjustified stop and arrest. Newly released security video shows in the opinion of your author a disturbing example of a law enforcement officer utilizing not only unjustified and unreasonable force, but disregard for even common decency and showing clear conduct unbecoming of a professional.

The incident was captured on surveillance video and shows what I believe is self-evident conduct likely to garner strong liability on behalf of defendants.


In May of 2014, plaintiff Monique Charlene Tillman and her brother claim earlier in the day they sold clothing to earn money to buy food. Afterward they biked through the Tacoma Mall parking lot on their way home. It was during this crossing that off-duty Tacoma Police Officer Jared Williams, who was working a paid detail for the mall and not on official assignment with the police department, stopped the siblings. The event is shown in the below video.

The lawsuit claims that after being stopped by Officer Williams,  accompanied by three mall security guards, Monique began arguing and tried to ride away. During this stop, the lawsuit alleges that the teenagers where told they would be banned from mall property for creating a disturbance.

As Monique started to ride away, Officer Williams yanked her from her bicycle and aggressively arrested her, finishing the incident by firing a Taser at her.

This is surveillance video showing the incident.

Plaintiff alleges the stop was unlawful, but your author does not have information regarding the reasonable suspicion or probable cause stated by Officer Williams who charged Monique with Assault in the Fourth Degree claiming assault on the officer. Several months later a Pierce County Juvenile Court dismissed this charge. For the purposes of discussion, we will not discuss the reasonable suspicion alleged for stopping Monique or her brother. In my opinion it is really only tangent to the use of force engaged by Officer Williams. I do not consider his actions to be justified by whatever crime Monique could be accused. I believe the force used was facially unlawful.

My analysis of the video is as follows.

  • The video begins with Monique and her brother riding through the parking lot, followed by Officer Williams and the security guards.
  • 00:17 Personal contact is made with Monique who is upon her bicycle. She begins talking and directing his attention ahead with hand gestures probably indicating her destination as she passes through the parking lot.
  • 00:48 Officer Williams pulls a notebook from his shirt pocket, Most likely to begin writing information about the incident or Monique’s name.
  • 00:56 Monique leans forward, appearing to ride away. She has her right foot on the ground and her hands probably on the handlebars.
  • 00:57 Officer Williams, using both hands while still holding the notepad grasps her left arm and pulls her toward him.If Williams did not allow Monique to leave simply stepping forward and holding her back with a hand or grabbing the handlebar I am certain would have been sufficient to stop her from leaving. Preventing Monique from leaving an investigation would be lawful, provided in this case a minimal amount of force is used.
  • 00:58 Officer Williams pulls Monique from the bike quickly while attempting to put Monique to the ground using a Straight Arm Bar Takedown. Monique does not fall to the ground and stands.I believe pulling Monique from the bicycle in this manner is unnecessary and a reasonable action would be to have her dismount the bicycle and remain standing, or even ordering her to sit on the pavement. She was not given any opportunity to do so. An Arm Bar Takedown can cause minor injuries to a person upon striking pavement as it is common for the target of the takedown to suddenly fall to the ground. Used properly the takedown can be mitigated by holding the arm and setting the person down but this is not always successful. But, again, I do not believe it was necessary.
  • 00:59 Monique turns in a manner consistent with being spun around by Williams who is trying to restrain her. The two then go off camera. One of the security guards holds back her brother briefly.
  • 01:08 Monique is held to the black SUV, restrained by a palm to her chest. Monique appears to be holding onto Officer Williams’ left forearm.
  • 01:24 Officer Williams attempts to put Monique’s right arm behind her back to cuff her but this does not happen. Instead, Williams spins her around and walks her to the from of the vehicle where he again pushes her into the SUV, probably in another attempt to handcuff her.
  • 01:29 After another unsuccessful attempt to put Monique onto the ground, and she stands, Officer Williams grabs her by the back of the head using a hair-hold while using a wrist clench.
  • 01:32 Officer Williams strongly yanks Monique, by the hair, to the sidewalk.Given the hardness of the ground, the physical size of Monique compared with Officer Williams, his strength, and training, and the fact that this incident was a minor violation at best, lesser means should have been employed.  Officers are permitted by state law and common law to exercise reasonable force to overcome resistance, which defendants are likely to argue.  However reasonableness is by both forms of law mandated.
  • 01:38 Williams straddles Monique and draws a Taser.
  • 01:40 Officer Williams shoots Monique with the darts of his Taser as evidenced by her clenching and the reflection of a wire in the video. He then holds his Taser while standing above her.In my view there was no reason to deploy a Taser against Monique given that she was on the ground and could have been cuffed with little difficulty. In fact, she was where Williams wanted her to be given that he used Straight Arm Bar Takedowns before. He was already standing above her and unless she displayed a weapon, which there is no evidence this occurred, the Taser use was excessive.
  • 01:53 One of the security guards comes forward and handcuffs Monique while Williams stands over her, holding the Taser. She remains on the sidewalk at least until the video ends.

Plaintiff’s attorney Vito de la Cruz said in a statement:

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

In filing the lawsuit against Tacoma Mall’s owner, Simon Property Group, and security contractor Universal Services of America, Plaintiff claims negligence but has not presently enumerated monetary damages.

By Darren Smith

Source: KOMO News

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

42 thoughts on “Lawsuit Alleges Officer Assaulted 15 Year Old Girl In Mall Parking Lot”

  1. you can say it’s not about race. but then you see the story about the 19-year-old white girl in PA who hit three cars, drove away, then assaulted the cop who stopped her and didn’t get tazed, didn’t get shot. Or the white students who rioted in State College after Joe Paterno got fired, or after any football game, burning couches, overturning cars in the street and the cops stand and watch. No shooting, no tazing, no takedowns.

    you can say it’s not about race, and maybe it’s not ALL or ONLY about race, but it’s definitely about race.

    And for those of you saying just comply and everything will be fine. First of all, that’s hilarious in black communities, and second, please pass that on to the Bundy family and all their treasonous shirthead friends.

  2. Oh my gosh, just Darren’s description of the incident gave me chills, especially as a mother. So scary for those kids. Yes, of course everyone should cooperate with police officers, and save the complaints for an IA later, if warranted. But the punishment for mouthiness or lack of cooperation is not getting tasered. Their parents must have had a heart attack if the video is as bad as Darren’s account.

    We are lucky they have video of the entire incident.

    Even though this did not occur on duty, can the police department review the incident and his fitness for duty?

    What else bothered me was the bit about them selling clothes to buy food. Was that play money, like eating out at the mall? Or was it to buy food because they had no other means to eat? Because they need to look into that, as well.

  3. This is my opinion only. I blame the following for this type of virtually insane action by police, in no particular order. TPTB actively want/need/require their police to be violent unreasonable criminal types. Why? A day soon comes when TPTB shall order the police to do the most violent criminal actions against large swaths of the public. When that day comes, these type of police shall be very willing.

    (The problem for these cops is that their neighbors know their identity, where they live, and the faces of their family members. When these cops go to work to shoot their neighbors (some day in the not too distant future), I don’t know if they realize the risk they run for their own family members. Maybe TPTB shall have compounds where live the family members of their police henchmen.)

    I also think the way that Israel runs it’s police state government has rubbed off on the US. Israel has conscription (women must serve in the military), plus the whole West Bank racist gulag, the whole thing is just a fascist dream, and it’s our so-called #1 love, so of course that all rubs off on daddy Warbucks, AKA the US. (Israel considers a law that would eject anyone who does not publicly swear to support the “Jewish” religious quality of Israel.) IOW, the police violence is a Jewish-ization of the USA.

    Another contributing factor is the way some persons raise their young to hate and disrespect the police. Obviously much of that reputation is earned (see above), but really now: these scum carry badges and guns and bullet proof shields and more guns and bigger guns, and tanks now, drones, radios, etc, etc. Any one who thinks it’s smart to run from or challenge one of these people, no matter how evil, is plain dumb and dumber.

  4. Republicans scream ‘It’s them transsexuals that are causing all the sexual depredation against our children!!’ What? It’s heterosexual male authority figures, parents, relatives, and close friends that are the sexual predators of children? Never mind…..

  5. Here is what you “Police Abuser’s” have given us: Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, East St. Louis, Camden the list goes on. This is what your crying about men and woman who are just dealing with people who have no respect for themselves never mind law and order.

    I worked in law enforcement for a very long time I would love to see one of you ride a midnight tour in one of these cities. You had better bring an extra box of your Depends, you probably wouldn’t even leave the car on a call.

  6. Real easy: “Yes Sir”, “No Sir”, “Sorry Sir”, “Whatever you say Sir”. Don’t pull away, don’t resist and if your not at the Mall to shop stay the hell off mall property.

  7. Excellent column and analysis, Darren.

    Steve Fleischer writes, “I suspect that the number of incidents of police abuse is no higher than historic levels (and probably lower since cops are rational beings and are very aware of cameras), but the public perceives that cops are getting more brutal. . . . Movements like this take decades, but the public tolerance for shenanigans like this one is disappearing.” I think this is accurate and very well stated.

    The City should have been sued: Williams appears to have been in his City duty uniform and impliedly acting under authority of state and local law, not the mall’s owner or a shopkeeper’s right to detain a shoplifter.

    In the video, it appears the only things the child did wrong were to neglect to stop at an intersection in a mall parking lot and leave during an allegedly constitutional Terry stop. Williams having take out his notebook and making notes prior to a frisk would seem to contradict the constitutionality of the stop.


    Spinelli writes, “Our culture has become more vulgar and disrespectful, w/ youth leading the downward spiral.” While I agree with the remainder of your comment, youth protesting illegality is something knew?

  8. Hystria Clark

    Snide comments like yours are mean spirited and add nothing to the discourse.

    Darren is going to a lot of effort to inform us; let’s thank him him and enjoy his efforts.

    I could have gone a long time without reading those offensive comments.

  9. Darren,

    It appears to be a clear resisting and no excessive force. She cleary was leaving and was non compliant with force.

    If the office had beat her while cuffed or used un essay force once she was subdued then I can understand your stance.

    However, it seems that your BS lead in is just to get more hits to your page. Now is that ethical? Shame on you.

  10. Our culture has become more vulgar and disrespectful, w/ youth leading the downward spiral. Cop was obviously wrong. With surveillance and cell phones bad cops get caught. So, the combo of cultural decay and more cameras gives us an unlimited supply of these videos. What about the other contributing side to this? Yes, cops need to be professional and this was wrong. However, until we get robot cops, humans will emotional responses. It’s gotten much tougher to be a cop. Many good people, who would consider a law enforcement career, see what cops have to put up w/ these days and are just saying, “Screw it,”

  11. Generations of oppression, poverty, discrimination, and ubiquitous learning disorders have created a perpetual culture of desperation, anger, resentment, fear, and violence. Possible solutions: easily available birth control and abortions, cease glorification of alcohol and violence, universal health care and education, basic minimal stipend for everyone. Predatory capitalism has failed. We need to try better ideas.

  12. Another observation. Cops with shaved heads seem to bigger dorks than normal people. Both of these dorks have shaved heads.
    And another. A taser is a lethal weapon. This is assault with a deadly weapon. If you folks on the blog think that a taser is not a deadly weapon then do some blogging. Many people are killed by cops each year. A taser is also a method of torture.
    Assault and battery with intent to do great bodily harm and attempted murder. There needs to be justice. If they do not prosecute then someone needs to do justice to both dorks.

  13. This seems like roid rage to me. The officer is well over the top.

  14. I think the cop was angry because she was being belligerent and uncooperative and he felt a lack of respect. Nonetheless, being a police officer is a position that requires a lot of patience and self-control. It necessarily requires dealing with people who will challenge you. It’s far worse for female officers. If he can’t deal with this reality, he shouldn’t be a cop. As one commentator pointed out, police receive exceptionally generous pay and benefits. That fact alone may be drawing people to police agencies who are psychologically not suited for the job.

  15. The use of violence seems to be the first choice of police officers. They demand obedience and respect that exceeds anything that is mandated by any rule of law. As to this officer’s actions he appears to trying to harm this young woman. Throwing her to the ground and tazing her was his way of showing her who is the boss. It had nothing to do with policing. The possibility of more that “minor” injury is high when someone is thrown to the ground.

    Anyone who thinks this kind of behavior is limited to certain communities is wrong, although I’m pretty sure race or class is a factor in many of these confrontations. Police are out of control and we should all be very concerned.

    As to the charge of “assault on an officer”, it sounds fishy. As it was dismissed I have to assume that it was. Once police officers to off the rails they always come up with a charge to try and excuse their inappropriate violent behavior.

  16. They shouldn’t allow men on the police force unless they can shoot at least 12 out 25 foul shots, or hit at least three balls per 10 in a batting cage. We have to establish some basic parameters.

  17. Darren,

    This post is so badly written:

    “Afterward bicycles they biked through the Tacoma Mall parking lot on their way home.”

    “It was during this crossing that off-duty Tacoma Police Officer Jared Williams . . .”

    What crossing?

    Then you get to your bullet points — which garble your impressions of video with your inability to write.

    You should really stop pretending that you have a legal background and just blather on like most commentators here.

  18. de la Cruz: “…another African American child being hurt…”

    Race is incidental – this was as Darren stated, an illegal act.

    I suspect that the number of incidents of police abuse is no higher than historic levels (and probably lower since cops are rational beings and are very aware of cameras), but the public perceives that cops are getting more brutal.

    Between graphic videos and blogs like this one (which bring local incidents to a national audience), the public is becoming more aware of police abuse and that leads to the (probably wrong) perception that police abuse is increasing.

    In this case perception trumps reality – there is a growing resentment of cops in certain quarters.

    Combine that growing resentment with the dawning awareness of the very generous compensation packages (in many communities, cops earn well above the median income and retire much better with pensions which few people have) that cops receive.

    Many people are experiencing increased local/property taxes at a time when their incomes are stagnating, which lessens tolerance for police mistakes (willful or not).

    Movements like this take decades, but the public tolerance for shenanigans like this one is disappearing.

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