A Black Bakersfield, California, teen reportedly echoed the final words of Eric Garner last month when police allegedly mistook her for a larger male suspect: “I can’t breathe,” reports the New York Daily News.
Tatyana Hargrove, 19, told the story of a June 18 brutal encounter with Bakersfield police in a Facebook video posted Monday by the NAACP Bakersfield, who said the incident was racially motivated. In the video, viewed more than four million times, Hargrove is seen with crutches, scratches, bites and bruises on her face and body.
“I told him ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” Hargrove said, echoing the words of Garner who died at the hands of police in July 2014, “and then I started yelling out ‘somebody help, somebody help me, they’re gonna kill me.”
On Thursday, the NAACP Bakersfield started a GoFundMe campaign to help Tatyana’s family with medical bills and counseling.
The arresting officer, Christopher Moore, confirmed in a police report obtained by The Bakersfield Californian that he mistook Tatyana for the suspect.
“She 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,” Moore wrote in his report of the incident, which including claims that Hargrove physically attacked the officers.
Hargrove, who was arrested on charges of resisting or delaying an officer and aggravated assault on an officer, was detained for nearly 16 hours before she her parents bailed her out of jail, according to the NAACP video. Bakersfield Police Sgt. Ryan Kroeker said that criminal charges have been filed against Hargrove, and the department determined that the officer acted appropriately. No internal investigation has been launched, added Kroeker.
NAACP Bakersfield Chapter President Patrick Jackson said he wants the Kern County District Attorney’s office to drop all charges against Hargrove, but more importantly, “to bring public awareness of the inequality in policing,” reports the Californian.
Further, the incident only confirms findings of a recent study that adults tend to think Black girls need less protection than White girls because they seem older and less innocent. When does the cycle end?