Teenager who was attacked by police dogs over mistaken identity files claim
A teenage girl who was forcibly arrested by police officers who mistook her from an adult man has filed a claim citing a violation of her civil rights and a use of excessive force.
Tatyana Hargrove, 19, was arrested on July 18 as officers mistook her for a suspect who was armed with a machete. The suspect was described as an adult black male, 5 foot 10 inches tall, mid-30s, with a bald head and a goatee. Hargrove is only 5 foot two inches and has shoulder length hair.
“What happened to me was vicious,” Hargrove said at a news conference. “It changed me very bad. My friends tell me I am different. I can’t talk about the story without crying. I hope and pray this doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
Hargrove left the traumatic interaction with cuts and scrapes to her face, knee and thigh and dog bites before she was arrested, taken to a hospital then jail.
“I think what’s troubling here is that there is this inclination to use force first,” said Neil Gehlawat, Tatyana’s attorney. “If they would have just talked to her, they would have realized she was a female.”
Cases of mistaken identity are already troubling enough, but seeing that this one was so far off the mark makes one wonder what the cops were possibly thinking. Well, based on the reports, we have an idea.
“Don’t lie to me, that’s a girl’s name,” Officer Christopher Moore said when Tatyana identified herself. “What is your name?”
“I’m a girl, I just don’t dress like one,” Hargrove responded.
“This was when I first discovered she was a female,” Moore wrote.
The entire incident has become the center of a controversy that further damages the relationship between police officers and the communities they’re meant to protect.