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Teen Girl 'Brutalized' by Police Officer for Riding Bike Through Parking Lot Files Lawsuit

Posted by Steve Karimi | Sep 01, 2016 | 0 Comments

A Tacoma teen, “brutalized” by a police officer for riding her bike through a mall parking, lot has expanded her lawsuit to include the city and security guards.

Surveillance video shows the officer and security staff in their vehicles chasing down the then 15-year-old girl as she and her brother rode through the parking lot on their way home. The video appears to show the girl questioning the officer before he pulls her off of her bicycle, slams her into parked vehicles, swings her around by her hair and throws her to the pavement. It appeared the officer pinned the girl against a vehicle by her throat and tased her after she was on the ground.

The girl's brother, meanwhile, was shoved to the ground and forced to sit while his sister is being thrown around, the video shows.

Charges against the girl, for resisting arrest and assaulting an officer were dropped. Her brother, who was 16 at the time, was charged with bicycling without a helmet.

The police officer was off duty and moonlighting as mall security. The lawsuit was amended after a spokeswoman for Tacoma police told reporters that although the officer was off duty, he still had police authority to make the arrest.

In Washington State, the use, attempt, or offer to use force on a person is legal whenever:

  • Necessarily used by a public officer, or a person assisting the officer and acting under the officer's direction;
  • Necessarily used by a person arresting someone who committed a felony and delivering him or her to an officer;
  • Used by someone about to be injured, or by another person helping the potential victim, provided the force is not more than is necessary;
  • Reasonably used to detain someone who unlawfully enters a private property, so long as the detention is reasonable to investigate the person's presence on the premises;
  • Used by an employee of a vehicle or vessel to expel a passenger who refuses to behave lawfully, provided the vehicle is stopped and the force used is not more than is necessary;
  • Used to prevent a mentally ill, mentally incompetent or mentally disabled person from committing an act dangerous to any person.

"Necessary" means that no reasonably effective alternative to the use of force appears to exist and that the amount of force used is reasonable to effect the lawful purpose intended.

A police officer having probable cause to believe that a person has committed a felony has the authority to arrest the person without a warrant. An officer can arrest a person without a warrant for committing a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor only when committed in the presence of an officer, unless the officer has probable cause that a person:

  • A person has violated a restraining order or assaulted a family member;
  • A person: hit a parked car; injured or killed someone in traffic; drove recklessly; raced a car; drove under the influence; drove with a suspended or revoked license; was negligent; or violated traffic laws;  
  • A person operated a vessel in a reckless manner;
  • A person committed an act of indecent exposure;
  • A person was harassing someone;
  • A person interfered with the operation of a health care facility; or
  • A person was in illegal possession of a firearm;
  • Or, that the crime involves harm or threats of harm, theft, the possession of cannabis, or involving alcohol by a person under 21.

No matter the crime or the circumstances, if you have been arrested and face criminal charges, call the Seattle law office of Steve Karimi at (206) 621-8777 or contact him online.

About the Author

Steve Karimi

Steve Karimi attended Pepperdine University School of Law. After graduation he worked as a prosecutor in Seattle where he gained valuable insight to the criminal justice system. Attorney Karimi uses his experiences as a prosecutor everyday only now he fights for the justice of those accused.


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If you were arrested or a loved one has been charged with a crime in Seattle or surrounding areas of Washington State, the Law Offices of Steve Karimi can help. Call 206-660-6200 24 hours a day for a free consultation.

Seattle Defense Lawyer

Named a "rising star" in criminal defense by Washington Law and Politics magazine, Mr. Karimi is a former prosecutor for King County who uses his insight into prosecution strategies to protect his clients' rights in criminal court.