The teen thrown to the ground by an off-duty Tacoma police officer working security at the Tacoma Mall and her brother were awarded more than half a million dollars Thursday in federal court.
Monique Tillman and brother Eric Branch sued Officer Jared Williams and the city of Tacoma in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, alleging that Williams’ conduct while attempting to detain the two on May 24, 2014, in the mall parking lot was assaultive and excessive. A jury found their claims to be true and awarded them $550,000, attorney Rick Friedman said.
“Monique and Eric are just looking forward to putting this behind them and getting on with their lives,” Friedman said. “I think it was important for them to stand up for their civil rights and not take this lying down, but they also don’t want to hold any grudges moving forward.”
City spokeswoman Maria Lee said in a statement that the verdict was disappointing and that Tacoma's attorneys are reviewing the verdicts and rulings in the case before deciding whether to pursue an appeal.
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Security footage captured Williams throwing Tillman to the ground by her hair after she and Branch were bicycling through the mall parking lot. Williams was in his Tacoma police cruiser and in uniform when he turned on the car’s lights and pulled them over without seeing them commit a crime.
Tillman asked why she had been pulled over, and Williams said she had caused a disturbance and was going to trespass her from mall property, meaning she could be arrested if she returned. Tillman asked again why she had been pulled over, and then tried to bike away.
As she rode away, Williams pulled her to the ground, then slammed her to the pavement and used his Taser on her.
Williams remains employed as an officer with the Tacoma Police Department, spokeswoman Loretta Cool said Thursday.