Seventeen-year-old Monique Tillman was brutally beaten, tased, and choked during a traumatic encounter with an off-duty police officer outside a mall in Tacoma, Washington.
The violent incident took place two years ago, when Tillman was just 15 years old. She claimed Officer Jared Williams attempted to hit her and her brother as they rode their bikes home.
Tillman is now fighting back against the officer and the owner of the mall with a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages.
Tillman spoke with NewsOne Now about her encounter with the Tacoma police prior to Monday’s show, during which she stated:
“When me and my brother were on our way home, we took a short cut through the mall and then the mall security guy came up to us and he was harassing us. The police officer came up asking me what my name was and I asked what I did wrong, what crime did I commit, because he was obviously a cop — he really didn’t have an answer.
“I just felt like I was being harassed — he choked me, he grabbed me by my hair, and tried to slam my face into the concrete and he kicked me and then tased me…”
“I honestly felt dead for a second — like I felt alive ’cause of the electricity running through my veins, but I didn’t feel anything.
“It took me a second to realize I was bring tased, but I was confused as to why they stopped me — quite frankly I was kind of mad too.”
“Deep down I knew the answer — definitely because of my skin color. That’s the only reason they stopped me. That’s the only reason they wanted to know my name and where we were going, and that’s the only reason why I got tased, because I’m Black …”
Tillman said the officers involved in the assault “deserve to be held accountable for their actions.”
She was charged in juvenile court for resisting arrest and assaulting an officer, those charges were later dismissed after a trial.
During Monday’s edition of NewsOne Now, Tillman’s lawyer Vito de la Cruz spoke with Roland Martin about the incident. Cruz said Tillman and her brother experienced the “reality many African-American kids live with on a day-to-day basis.”
The officer who committed the acts is still a member of the Tacoma police force and according to Cruz, was never disciplined for his actions. “Sometime after the incident at the mall, the spokesperson for the Tacoma Police Department indicated that the officer had essentially been cleared of any wrongdoing,” he said.
In speaking about the lawsuit, Cruz explained the offending officer, Tacoma mall owner Simon Properties, and Universal Security Services were named as plaintiffs.
Without video of the altercation, Cruz said, “You would have a 15-year-old African-American girl and her 16-year-old brother’s word against a White police officer and White security guards at the mall and the result of the criminal trial may have been very different … it could have ended any attempt to seek justice on the civil side of the case as well.”
Watch Roland Martin, Attorney Vito de la Cruz, and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the disturbing beating, choking, and tasing incident involving Monique Tillman and her brother in the video clip above.
Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.