A teenager in Washington state has sued a local mall and an off-duty police officer working for the business after she was violently arrested after riding her bike in a parking lot in 2014.
This video contains footage some readers may find upsetting.
Monique Tillman was just 15 years old when Jared Williams -- an officer for the Tacoma Police Department working off-duty for the mall's private security firm, also named in the suit -- pulled his cruiser up behind her bicycle. A video of the incident shows Tillman and her brother talking with the officer before the encounter quickly escalates, according to footage obtained by The Seattle Times.
Williams is seen grabbing Tillman after she attempted to bike away, "slamming her into parked vehicles, forcibly shoving his arm into her chest, grabbing her by the hair and body-slamming her into the pavement," the complaint reads. The officer later used his taser on her, saying she resisted arrested and tried to kick him.
The suit, filed earlier this month in Pierce County Superior Court, seeks unspecified damages for physical injuries, physical and mental pain, and suffering, embarrassment and discomfort.
Tillman told The Seattle Times she was "in shock" after the encounter as she had complied with all of the commands made by the officer, who said she was initially pulled over for causing a "disturbance."
She said she felt like she was targeted because she was black.
“I think it was more racially motivated because I feel like if we were two white kids, they wouldn’t have stopped us," Tillman told King5 News. "They wouldn’t have said anything to us. They definitely wouldn’t have tased me."
Tillman's attorney, Vito de la Cruz, said she was charged in juvenile court, but all charges were later dismissed after a judge found no evidence of wrongdoing.
“A child riding a bike should not have to worry that a police officer will stop her without legal cause and brutalize her," de la Cruz told the Tacoma News Tribune in a statement. "Our communities are weary of another African American child being hurt by unwarranted and excessive police force.”
Williams is still an officer with the Tacoma police department, according to the outlet.
Seattle has seen a rise in protests aligned with Black Lives Matter over recent police violence against people of color in the city.