The Bakersfield Californian has reported a disturbing case centered on a black teenager, Tatyana Hargrove, who was allegedly attacked by three police officers in Bakersfield, California.
Police claim they mistook Hargrove for a large bald man who was threatening people with a machete.
The Bakersfield chapter of NAACP released a Facebook video that features Hargrove recalling the event, which took place on June 18.
In the video, Hargrove states that she rode her bike to a local store to purchase a Father's Day gift. She turned around to go back home after the store was closed.
It was a very hot day, and Hargrove says she stopped to have a drink of water; she was carrying three bottles of water in her backpack as a precaution against the weather.
"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 officers demanded to look in her backpack. She asked the officers if they had a warrant.
Hargrove says the officers merely pointed to a large K-9 dog by way of reply. She says that because she was scared, she handed her bag over.
And, according to Hargrove, that's when things began to take a turn for the worst.
She says that an officer then grabbed her by the wrist and neck, punched her in the mouth, threw her to the ground, and allowed the police dog to bite her on the leg.
The assault didn't end there, Hargrove says. Apparently the same officer then placed one of his knees on her back, and another on her head.
"I told him 'I can't breathe, I can't breathe' and then I started yelling out 'Somebody help, somebody help me, they're gonna kill me,'" she said.
The officers let her up and proceeded to restrain both her hands and feet before placing her in a squad car, Hargrove said. The teen also said that as this was happening, a man came out of a nearby store to tell the officers that they had the wrong person.
The authorities were on the hunt for a large bald man with a goatee, that police documents described as a 25- to 30-year-old man of about 5 feet 10 inches and weighing about 170 pounds.
Hargrove is 5 feet 2 inches, 115 pounds, 19-years-old, has hair on her head and no facial hair. She is also a woman.
Bakersfield police say that Hargrove's story isn't entirely accurate.
The police arrested the teen on "suspicion of resisting or delaying an officer and aggravated assault of an officer," according to the official police report, which also states that Hargrove "matched the description of the suspect that had brandished the machete," and that she attacked the officers and the K-9 dog while screaming curse words.
The report also alleges that Hargrove told officers, "'This isn’t happening. I’m leaving,'" although the report makes no mention of her trying to escape.
One of the officers said in the report that they didn't realize Hargrove was a woman until they asked her her name in the patrol car. They initially believed that she was lying about her sex, but were eventually convinced that she wasn't a male.
Hargrove's father expressed his skepticism about the report, saying, "They would say that my daughter attacked them? Come on. She's … 115 pounds soaking wet and that she attacked a 200 pound man?"
The Bakersfield police say that this was simply a case of mistaken identity, and that its officers did nothing wrong.
It did say, however, that Hargrove did something wrong in allegedly attacking police officers, and that the teen has criminal charges that have been filed against her.
Douglas Washington, the 24-year-old machete suspect has been arrested.
A Go Fund Me campaign has been created on behalf of Tatyana to help pay for her medical bills and provide her and her family with counseling.