TACOMA, Wash. (AP) – A Washington state teenager who was pulled from her bicycle in a mall parking lot four years ago and shocked with a stun gun by an off-duty officer working security has been awarded $500,000 in federal court.
The jury issued the award to Monique Tillman on Thursday after she sued Officer Jared Williams and the city of Tacoma over the May 2014 encounter caught on surveillance video. Her brother Eric Branch was awarded $50,000.
Attorney Rick Friedman told The News Tribune that it was important for Tillman and Branch to “stand up for their civil rights and not take this lying down.”
Security footage captured Williams throwing the then 15-year-old Tillman to the ground by her hair after she and Branch, then 16, 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.
Tillman asked why she had been pulled over, and Williams said she had caused a disturbance and was going to issue her a trespass warning 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, slammed her to the pavement and used his Taser on her, the footage showed.
City spokeswoman Maria Lee said in a statement that the verdict was disappointing and that Tacoma’s attorneys are reviewing the case before deciding whether to pursue an appeal.
Tacoma police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said Williams remains employed with the department.
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