Sorry, I’m not buying what Tatyana Hargrove’s attorneys are selling. Their story struck me as an attempt to bias a potential jury pool in their favor. The Californian played their role perfectly with the giant headline “My friends tell me I’m different.” I feel badly for her that she sustained injuries from the encounter. However, what I am not buying as fact is that the encounter changed her in any sort of damaging emotional way. 

Hargrove clearly has a bold enough personality to be verbally defiant to police officers, and self-confident enough that she attempted to ride off despite being directed otherwise. Her actions caused her injuries, and although she has certainly suffered pain, I don’t think the encounter fundamentally changed the bold, defiant, self-confident person she was.

But then again, maybe she is different, maybe she understands that police have a difficult job that is quickly becoming impossible when people behave the way she did. Maybe she feels regret. She made their job more difficult and put her safety, and theirs, in jeopardy by being defiant. Complying would have safely ended the encounter, as it did when my husband was caught in a similar circumstance, handcuffed and restrained but innocent. I accept that officers could have handled her situation better, but I wonder what do we want them to do when dispatched to confront machete-wielding suspects?

Catherine Jones, Bakersfield