FRESNO, Calif. (KGET) — A federal jury has found Bakersfield police did not use excessive force or violate the civil rights of a young woman whom officers released a K-9 against after mistaking her for a much bigger male suspect.
The jury awarded no damages to Tatyana Hargrove after rendering a verdict in favor of the City of Bakersfield during a trial held this month at U.S. District Court in Fresno.
An attorney for Hargrove confirmed the jury’s decision but said he had not been authorized to give a statement on her behalf. Hargrove has waived her right to appeal in return for the city not seeking her to pay its legal fees.
City Attorney Ginny Gennaro could not immediately be reached for comment late Friday afternoon.
The jury rendered its verdict Oct. 18, court filings show.
Hargrove was stopped by police while riding her bicycle home on June 18, 2017. The officers were looking for a 5-foot-10 black man who brandished a machete outside a nearby Grocery Outlet store.
The lawsuit said Officer Christopher Moore drew his gun and pointed it at Hargrove as he questioned her. He demanded she hand over her backpack.
Hargrove asked the officers if they had a warrant, the suit said, and they pulled her off the bike, punched her in the face and threw her to the ground. Moore released his K-9, which bit her leg as she screamed, according to the suit.
She spent the night in jail before her parents bailed her out.
Hargrove had faced two counts of resisting arrest, one count of willfully interfering with a police K-9 and two counts of assault on a peace officer, but all charges were later dismissed.
Moore’s written account differed from Hargrove’s in a number of aspects.
He said the description he received of the suspect with the machete was “black male, white shirt, carrying a pink backpack,” and he thought Hargrove, who had short hair, was the suspect.
A detailed description of the man including height, weight and that he was bald didn’t come until about an hour after Hargrove was contacted, Moore wrote.
Hargrove was uncooperative from the beginning, he wrote, and when the other officer attempted to detain her she interlaced her fingers behind her head while straddling the bicycle.
The officer grabbed her hands, lost his footing and fell to the ground, according to Moore’s report. Hargrove landed on top of him, and Moore then deployed the K-9.
In dismissing the charges against Hargrove, then-District Attorney Lisa Green noted both sides handled the encounter poorly.