Monique Tillman, a 16-year-old from Tacoma, Washington, is planning to file a lawsuit against the Tacoma Police Department and the officer who Tasered her when she tried to escape while he was writing her a citation for being a menace in a mall parking lot last May.
Tillman was 15-years old at the time and riding bikes on a Saturday with her 16-year-old brother. They'd left McDonald's and decided to take a short cut home through the mall's lot. Mall security ordered the teens to pull over, but officers say the kids didn't stop. Security video shows Tillman, now 16, talking with an off-duty Tacoma Police officer hired by the mall for crime prevention. Their encounter rapidly escalates. "He was just pulling my hair and like he was trying to slam my face into the ground," she said. The officer looks to take out a note pad to write down information. Tillman said she didn't have identification and thought she was being racially profiled and told the officer that. Before the officer could write anything down, Tillman admits she tried to ride away. That's when he grabbed her. "I did have a bit of an attitude, but that's because it was a waste of my time. I hadn't done anything wrong," she said. The police report described the kids cutting off cars earlier, swearing and yelling at anyone who honked at them, and that the mall wanted them stopped and given a trespassing notice. "I felt like they just see me as some black kid wanting to cause problems or something. And it was nothing like that," said the 11th grader. The report claims Tillman, who says she's a straight A student at Bates Technical High School, became belligerent, swearing, screaming, and resisting until she was Tased by the Tacoma officer. "It felt like electricity running through my veins instead of blood," she said. That's when she stopped resisting and started cooperating. An attorney for the family plans to sue the Tacoma Police Department and the off-duty officer.