A black 19-year-old girl was punched in the mouth by an officer, bitten by a police K9 and arrested last month after an officer said he mistook her for a 180-pound bald man suspected of threatening people with a machete at a nearby grocery store.
Tatyana Hargrove’s story has been gaining attention this week after the NAACP’s Bakersfield, CA, chapter released a Facebook video Monday morning recapping the incident, which it said was racially motivated.
It comes about six months after the group released a similar video alleging two black college students were roughed up similarly by Bakersfield Police Department officers without cause.
In the most recent video, Hargrove alleges that on June 18 she was walking home from Wooden Nickel Trading Company on Ming Avenue, where she had gone for a Father’s Day gift, when she was approached by an officer. He drew his gun as soon as he got out of his patrol car, she claims.
The result of the contact? An altercation that left Hargrove with scrapes, bruises, a punch to the mouth from one officer and a bite from a K9 released by another. During the course of her arrest, Hargrove said she feared for her life.
“He [the officer] put his other knee on my head, and I told him, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe’ and I started yelling out: ‘Somebody help me, somebody help me, they’re going to kill me,’” Hargrove said in the video, which received more than 225,000 views in eight hours and attracted hundreds of comments expressing frustration and anger.
She declined to speak to The Californian through NAACP Bakersfield chapter President Patrick Jackson, who spoke on her behalf.
She was arrested on suspicion of resisting or delaying an officer and aggravated assault on an officer, according to BPD arrest records.
The NAACP says Hargrove was targeted for her race. BPD says it was a case of mistaken identity.
BPD Sgt. Ryan Kroeker wouldn’t comment on specific matters in the police report, but said that criminal charges have been filed against Hargrove and the case has been forwarded to the Kern County District Attorney’s office for review. The department has determined the force used was appropriate, and no internal investigation has been launched, Kroeker added.
‘DON’T LIE TO ME, THAT’S A GIRL’S NAME’
The arresting officer, Christopher Moore, said in a police report obtained by The Californian that he didn’t know Hargrove was a woman until after she was handcuffed.
He mistook her for a machete-wielding suspect who had come out of the Grocery Outlet Bargain Market on Ming and Ashe avenues after threatening several people, according to the report.
That man, who police identified as Douglas Washington before arresting him the next day, was described in multiple police reports from June 18 as a 25- to 30-year-old man, bald, about 170 pounds standing at 5 feet 10 inches. He was wearing a white t-shirt, dark jeans and a pink or red backpack that contained the machete.
SOURCE: HAROLD PIERCE