The cops were looking for a big, bald, black man with a machete, so naturally they beat Tatyana Hargrove instead.
It so easy to understand the confusion.
Police said they mistook her for a man who reportedly had threatened people with a machete at a nearby store.
The suspect was described as a 25- to 30-year-old bald man standing about 5-foot-10 and weighing about 170 pounds. Hargrove is 5-foot-2 and weighs 115 pounds, the Bakersfield California reported
While Hargrove had no machete, she was on crutches.
Hargrove, who was wearing a hat, “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,” the arresting officer, Christopher Moore, wrote in a report obtained by the Californian. He thought she had a weapon in her bag.
Obviously, Hargrove was easily confused with the guy the cops were looking for, despite every conceivable aspect of her appearance being entirely different. So they demanded to search her bag, because every completely innocent woman is subject to immediate search of her possessions by any confused cop.
“And then I turned around and there were three cop cars and one of the officers already had a gun drawn at me,” she said.
The confrontation escalated after an officer demanded to search her backpack and she asked if he had a warrant.
Hargrove, confused on her part because she was, you know, just an ordinary innocent person who harbored some odd expectation of having constitutional rights, didn’t just do as commanded, but was so brazen as to ask for a warrant. Outrageous!
According to the report, the confrontation escalated after Hargrove said she was going to leave. She was punched in the mouth and bitten after she knocked down an officer and got on top of him, according to the report.
She was subdued after fighting the dog and the officers, the report indicated.
But it’s not as if Moore, a master of skilled police observation, didn’t eventually come to the realization that instead of beating a big bald man who had a machete, he was beating a young woman on crutches.
Moore said he didn’t realize Hargrove was female until she told him her first name.
Clearly, Hargrove should have told Moore her name, perhaps exposed her genitalia to prove to the officer’s satisfaction that she was female. Then again, the crutches might have been a dead giveaway to the brave officer that this person, whatever her gender, wasn’t the guy he was looking for and, more importantly, there was no cause whatsoever for the flagrant violation of Hargrove’s constitutional rights. Not that it seems to concern the Bakersfield police all that much.
The Police Department determined the use of force was appropriate, Sgt. Ryan Kroeker told the Bakersfield Californian.
After all, there are so many demands made upon the police in their efforts to protect and serve, that we certainly have to cut them some slack in the occasional mistake.