Short Take: Tatyana Hargrove’s Crutches Confused The Cops

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 .

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.

25 thoughts on “Short Take: Tatyana Hargrove’s Crutches Confused The Cops

  1. paleo

    You know, it’s probably time add “appropriate use of police force” to the old saying “Close only counts with hand grenades, horseshoes, and nuclear weapons”.

      1. REvers

        I’ll bet she made furtive movements toward her waistband where most black men keep their machetes.

      2. paleo

        Yeah, doesn’t seem too close to me either. But our opinions don’t count for much.

        I mean, she was black. She was human. She was…wearing a hat? Apparently plenty close enough for the folks that matter. Obviously, you and I don’t have a well-formed understanding of what “close” means.

    1. SHG Post author

      And yet not bizarre at all, if you look at it from the cop’s perspective. Try to reconcile that.

      1. Rojas

        “Do you have a warrant” equals contempt of cop to be countered with an interference charge and tune up.

        Perfectly reasonable to lay flat on you stomach when suffering a canine attack.
        “Get your hands off my dog” or I’ll bend your finger backwards until forced to let go so the dog can function with the “desired effect”.

      2. B. McLeod

        I don’t have a pair of “funny glasses” in my collection that will work for that. I might be able to ramp up some of the pharmaceuticals.

  2. Lars Husebo

    I think the crutches were the result of the beatings she endured.
    The reports say she was taking a water break from bicycling.
    But still, crutches or not…

  3. Dan

    I thought it was racist to say that all members of (any race different than your own) look alike. But that sounds like what the cops are doing.

  4. Andrew

    Not that it makes a difference, but she was on a bike. The crutches came about after a brief Bakersfield PD “community outreach” session.

  5. el profesor presente

    The police report is a breezy read, with several Hemingwayesque passages such as “the punch had the desired effect,” “[the K9] engaged on the right side of her right thigh” (which also “had the desired effect”), and the unpretentious economy of “He also had a scrape on his right pinky knuckle from punching HARGROVE.”

    But apart from the unadorned prose, this little nugget bears some deconstruction:

    This explains the old saying, “The only unarmed civilian is a dead civilian.” Turns out Monty Python let the Black Knight off easy.

      1. el profesor presente

        Karate schmarate. The inclusion of unused teeth indicates the criteria here is simple possession. And the “etc.” can cover kneecaps, flatulence, microaggressive speech, and Jedi mind tricks.

        Wait, maybe I read that line of the report wrong. It makes more sense as a list of what they used on her.

  6. kemn

    It’s the sunglasses – they put on 50 lbs & 8″.

    I suppose the residents of the complex were lucky the police didn’t do a door-to-door tuneup for the suspect.

    1. B. McLeod

      As the British have discovered in several countries, you can only beat so many people before your arm gets tired.

  7. jim ryan

    A clear case of the “Hammer Effect”.
    The police have fists, knees, batons, guns, shotguns, dogs, tear gas +++ , tools of their trade all at their disposal.
    So they need to use these tools of law enforcement in their jobs.
    From the results, Tatyana obviously looked like a perp so the police deployed some of the tools
    Tatyana is lucky that they didn’t get to start seeing her as a target so they never got to the gunz part.
    The “Hammer Effect” – when you get a new hammer, everything looks like a nail.

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