July 13 (UPI) — Police in Bakersfield, Calif. mistakenly identified a 19-year-old black woman for a 30-year-old black man and attacked her by punching her in the head and instructing a K-9 to bite her.
The woman, Tatyana Hargrove, is 5 feet, 2 inches and weighs 115 pounds. The suspect, Douglas Washington, is 5 feet 10 inches, weighs approximately 170 pounds, bald, and has a goatee.
“She appeared to be a male and matched the description of the suspect that had brandished the machete and was also within the same complex the suspect had fled to,” arresting officer Christopher Moore wrote in the arrest report.
The incident occurred on June 18. Hargrove was biking home from a store where she bought a Father’s Day gift for her father. Police were responding to a call involving a machete-wielding man at a nearby grocery store. When Hargrove biked past the grocery store, police confronted her and demanded to search her bag.
Hargrove said police immediately resorted to violence after she asked police if they had a warrant. Officer G. Vasquez, she said, answered her question by pointing behind her.
“I looked behind me and there was a big K9 dog and then I got scared and was like, ‘Here, just take the backpack,'” she said in a video uploaded to Facebook by the NAACP. “And then after that, he grabbed me by my wist..he grabbed me by my neck and punched me and then he threw me to the ground and that’s when the K9 came and started eating at my leg.”
At one point, an officer put his knee on Hargrove’s back and pushed her head into the pavement.
“I told him ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe’ and then I started yelling out, ‘Somebody help me, somebody help me! They’re gonna kill me!'” she said. “And then finally, he let me up, he tied my hands behind my back and then he tied my feet together and he threw me in the back of the car.”
Officer Christopher Moore wrote in his police report that when they stopped Hargrove, she
said, “What you all stopping another black person for? I’m leaving.”
According to the police report, Hargrove was sitting on her bicycle with her hands on her head whenVasquez grabbed her hands. He says she spun her shoulder to her left, which caused them both to fall down, with Hargrove on top. Vasquez then believed he was “at a disadvantage,” so he punched the 19-year-old woman in the mouth.
“The punch had the desired effect as Hargrove’s head moved back and Senior Officer Vasquez was able to push her off of him to his right,” Moore wrote.
Vasquez then got on top of Hargrove and Moore ordered his K9 to attack the woman. At one point, Moore said he put Hargrove’s hand in the dog’s mouth after she had tried to stop the dog from biting her by grabbing onto its muzzle.
When she was under arrest, she told Moore her name was “Tatyana.”
“Don’t lie to me. That’s a girl’s name. What is your name?” he said.
I’m a girl. I just don’t dress like one,” she said.
“This was when I first discovered she was a female,” Moore wrote.
Moore then arrested her for resisting arrest and aggravated assault on an officer and, after she received medical treatment, booked her into jail.
The suspect police were looking for was eventually apprehended without incident.
But the Hargrove family says Tatyana was racially profiled, unjustifiably beaten and attacked by a dog, and then arrested on false charges.
They want a full investigation, body cameras put on Bakersfield police officers and for the charges against Hargrove to be dismissed.
Hargrove said she has read the police report and finds it unbelievable.
“[I]t said that I shoved an officer and flipped him on his back,” she said. “There were dogs and guns drawn on me. Like, I would never do anything like that.”