Bakersfield police launch internal investigation into brutality claim

Tatyana Hargrove, middle, speaks to Eyewitness News reporter Reyna Harvey, left, along with her parents and the president of the local NAACP chapter in Bakersfield, Calif., Wednesday, July 12, 2017. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Police Chief Lyle Martin has ordered an internal investigation into the allegation of excessive force in the arrest of a 19-year-old woman.

This comes on the heels of a video produced by the local NAACP chapter, in which the woman, Tatyana Hargrove, lays out her claims. The video, posted to Facebook, has gained a great deal of attention.

Hargrove claims officers used excessive force while mistakenly identifying her as a male suspect threatening people with a machete.

The Police Department has a different account of what took place that day, however police have confirmed that Hargrove was punched in the face and bit by one of their service K-9s.

Hargrove is now facing five misdemeanor charges connected to the incident, and her family says this is an injustice.

The family sat down exclusively with Eyewitness News on Wednesday to talk about their desire for the charges to be dropped and the need for an open investigation.

"I just hope that this would not happen to anyone else," said Craig Reece, the woman's father. "I hope someone will see this and see the injustice, and hope that they will feel it."

The NAACP is representing the Hargrove family. Chapter leader Patrick Jackson said the Police Department's internal investigation is a start in the right direction, however they wish police would have done one sooner. The arrest took place in June.

"Of course, I would love to see that our Police Department would take into account, especially with internal affairs, with seeing that this case as something that is alarming to our community," Jackson said. "That they would look into this into a lot more details than what they have done already."

The NAACP is asking for continued support for Hargrove while the Police Department begins its internal investigation. There will be a rally at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Liberty Bell in downtown Bakersfield, organized by Hargrove's family and the NAACP.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off