BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A former McDonald’s worker accused of rubbing a hamburger bun on the floor and spitting on it as she prepared an order for a Bakersfield police officer has been ordered to stand trial on a felony charge.
A judge on Thursday did, however, dismiss a misdemeanor battery charge filed against Tatyana Hargrove after finding insufficient evidence to support it.
Hargrove is next due in court March 23.
Also, the felony charge against co-defendant Herman Trevino, who witnessed Hargrove’s actions but didn’t stop her from serving the burger or inform management, was dismissed in exchange for agreeing to testify at Hargrove’s trial.
Deputy Public Defender Lexi Blythe, Hargrove’s attorney, argued during the preliminary hearing there wasn’t enough evidence for the felony filed against her client as one of its elements is the willful mingling of poison or a harmful substance with food.
In Hargrove’s case, Blythe said, it’s unknown when the last time a cleaning product was used on the floor on which the officer’s hamburger bun was rubbed, so the presence of any harmful chemicals on the floor is unknown. Also, she said, it can’t be proven Hargrove spit on the burger because her back was to the restaurant’s surveillance camera as she prepared the food.
In response, prosecutor Gina Pearl said another McDonald’s employee reported hearing Hargrove draw saliva into her mouth as she prepared the order. Surveillance video shows Hargrove wiping her mouth with her arm afterward, indicating she spit on the food, Pearl said.
As to whether saliva can be classified as a “harmful substance,” Pearl responded with reference to current world events.
“Look at what’s going on in the world right now with the coronavirus,” she said.
According to court documents and testimony, Hargrove tampered with the officer’s food on Nov. 15, 2019 at a west Bakersfield McDonald’s. She shouted, “Black lives matter, (expletive) the pigs!” according to testimony.
Deputy Carly Snow, who investigated the incident, testified Hargrove said she yelled those words because she knew the burger was going to be served to a police officer. The officer was in a black and white patrol car and in full uniform in the drive-thru lane.
Snow testified the officer told her he did not become sick or feel any negative effects from eating the burger, and he did not go to a hospital.
In 2018, Hargrove claimed she was the victim of police brutality when she was arrested after a struggle with Bakersfield police.
She sued in federal court, claiming a civil rights violation. That suit went to trial, and a jury ruled in favor of the City of Bakersfield.