Tatyana Hargrove, a Black 19-year-old woman, was attacked by police at gunpoint, punched in the mouth and bitten by a K-9 police dog in Bakersfield, California. The police allegedly misinterpreted the teenager (who is 5’2″, 115 pounds) for a 5’10”, 170 pounds, 30-year-old bald man with a goatee.
Hargrove was arrested by Officer Christopher Moore who wrote in his police report that the teen, “appeared to be a male and matched the description of the suspect that had brandished a machete and was also within the same complex the suspect had fled to.”
However, a video that was posted by the NAACP in Bakersfield shares her story and has received 4.2 million views. In the video, the teenager shows scratches, bites, and bruises that are all over her body and face from the June 18 attack.
In the video, the teen explains that on Father’s Day, she rode her bike to a local store to buy a Father’s Day gift, before realizing the store was closed. She stopped to grab water out of her backpack and realized that three police cars were behind for. The teen reports that one of the police officers had his gun drawn by the time he got out of the car.
Hargrove said that officers demanded to see her backpack and when she asked for a warrant, that’s when things took a turn. The officers threatened her with their K-9 dog, pointing out the dog to Hargrove, who said she then got scared and obliged to give their backpack. However, at this point, the officer grabbed her by the wrist and neck, punched her, and threw her to the ground, with the K-9 dog biting her.
Hargrove also reports that one officer placed his knee in her back and his knee in her head. She told him, similar to Eric Garner, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” and then started yelling out, “Somebody help, somebody help me, they’re gonna kill me!”
The teen was arrested on suspicion of resisting or delaying an officer as well as aggravated assault on an officer. Officer Moore accused Hargrove of ignoring the police and placing her feet on her bike pedals, appearing as if “she was going to flee.” However, nowhere in the report does it say that Hargrove left the scene.
Moore said that he thought there was a machete in her backpack, hence releasing the K-9. He also claims that he didn’t realize that Hardgrove was a woman until she said her name was, “Tatyana.” Moore replied, “Don’t lie to me, that’s a girl’s name. What is your name?” Hardgrove responded, “I’m a girl. I just don’t dress like one.”
The police were actually looking for a 24-year-old Douglas Washington, who was arrested the following day and currently is in jail.
The police system fails us once again.