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Charges dropped against black teenager, but no explanation for how she was mistaken for man wielding machete

Charges dropped against black teenager, but no explanation for how she was mistaken for man wielding machete

Tatyana Hargrove is not a 5’10”, 170 pound bald man with a goatee.

But that didn’t stop Hargrove, a 5’2″, 120 pound 19-year-old, from being arrested by Bakersfield, California police on June 18, even though the person cops were looking for was older, taller, heavier, and a different gender.

The only similarity between Hargrove and the man police were looking for, Douglas Washington, is that they are both black. Washington was later arrested.

Hargrove was charged with resisting arrest and use of force against a police officer even after officers realized she was not the man they were looking for. The Bakersfield NAACP took up Hargrove’s cause, generating national attention.

Hargrove’s ordeal ended earlier this month when, Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green announced that her office was dropping all charges.

Green acknowledged law enforcement would need to repair trust with the minority community, with many outraged over what Hargrove had been put through.

However, Green defended the officers who arrested Hargrove, saying they only knew they were looking for a black man with a backpack. None the officers will face charges or any discipline.

In July Hargrove told her story on Facebook. According to Hargrove, she was riding her bike when she stopped to get a drink of water and get out of the 100 degree heat for a few minutes. Suddenly she was surrounded by three police cars, and one police officer was pointing a gun at her.

According to the Washington Post “What followed, according to both Hargrove and police, was a case of mistaken identity and an altercation in which police punched Hargrove in the mouth, unleashed a police K-9 dog on her and arrested her.”

Officer were actually looking for Washington, who’d threatened several people with a machete at a nearby grocery store. But police believed Hargrove was a man, and suspected the machete was in her backpack, according to a police report.

“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,” wrote the arresting officer.

Police say Hargrove resisted arrest, and department officials have said officers used the appropriate use of force on Hargrove.

Hargrove, in her Facebook account of what happened, denies resisting arrest or disobeying the instruction of police. She said police punched her and threw her on the ground before turning a police dog on her.

It is unclear why police thought Hargrove matched the description of the suspect.

Police reform activists “cautiously optimistic” about new Portland chief

Police reform activists “cautiously optimistic” about new Portland chief

Last year, Portland, Oregon Mayor Ted Wheeler successfully ran on a platform that championed police reform as a major priority. But since he took office, Wheeler has repeatedly drawn the ire of local criminal justice reform activists and organizers. On Monday, Wheeler took a step that could begin to heal his relationship with concerned Portlanders by appointing Danielle Outlaw, a 19-year veteran of the Oakland Police Department to lead the Portland Police Bureau.

“My life’s passion is policing,” says Outlaw in a statement from Wheeler’s office. “I want to make a positive difference in the lives of my fellow officers and the residents of the community.’’

Outlaw, who will be the first African American woman to head the troubled bureau, has her work cut out for her. Following Trump’s election, Portland police have repeatedly used militarized force against nonviolent protesters, injuring some of them, including a 66-year-old woman. The department also has an ugly reputation for its raciallybiased policing, and a pattern of using excessive force against the mentally ill, which attracted a U.S. Department of Justice investigation in 2011. And Outlaw’s new role has historically belonged to a series of scandal-ridden chiefs.

Though it’s too early to know if Outlaw will ultimately be able to tackle this litany of problems, there is reason to believe she’s up to the task. Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris, who repeatedly sued the Oakland Police Department, tells The Portland Mercury that Outlaw is “a progressive thinker” with the skills required to overhaul the department. Outlaw comes to Portland from a police department with a reputation that is arguably far worse than Portland’s, yet Burris depicts Outlaw as utterly unlike her former colleagues, who’ve been caught planting drugs, making bad arrestsassaulting people, and sexually abusing Oakland residents.

“Transparency and accountability are issues she firmly appreciates and understands,” Burris tells the Mercury. “I think she’ll be a chief who’s progressive in thinking and understanding of these kinds of issues.”

Following the sex scandal that rocked the Oakland Police Department in 2016, then-Deputy Chief Outlaw helped implement changes to the police academy in an effort to prevent future misconduct, downsizing classes and introducing a more rigorous background check procedure for new officers.

Amid what appears to largely be a record of policing with a progressive bent and an eye toward strengthening community relations, there is one blemish. In July, when Oakland’s City Council voted to rescind a data-sharing agreement with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, Outlaw was a vocal opponent. The city council vote came as many so-called sanctuary cities across the country actively work to distance themselves from the Trump administration’s policies and shield immigrants from deportation. In spite of the council’s unanimous vote, Outlaw advocated to preserve the city’s cooperation with the federal government, saying the police department’s relationship with Homeland Security “allows us to have that federal arm and to have that transnational piece that we just as a local municipal agency do not have access to.”

That stain on an otherwise progressive record seems not to have tarnished the views of hopeful activists. Portland’s Resistance, a group of local organizers formed after Trump’s election, have pressed Wheeler on police reform and led recent local efforts to bring the hiring process for the new chief out of the shadows. As a leading voice for local police reform, the group says they are “cautiously optimistic that [Outlaw’s] hiring will mark a new direction for policing in Portland,” in a statement issued on the group’s Facebook page.

“We have no illusions that this new police chief will be perfect,” the statement continues. “Nor can a single person reform our incredibly corrupt and violent police department. However, this could be a step in the right direction.”

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Romance leads to removal of Kentucky prosecutor (again)

Hopkinsville Justice Center in Christian County KY

Romance leads to removal of Kentucky prosecutor (again)

The Christian County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has been removed from handling a murder case after a judge found that Commonwealth’s Attorney Lynn Pryor had a conflict of interest from previously dating the lead detective.

Pryor, who took over as top county prosecutor in January 2007, and her entire office are now off the murder case of Jarred Tabor Long due to Pryor’s relationship with Christian County Sheriff’s Office Captain Ed Stokes.

Long was arrested in 2012 for the murder of Vincent Goslyn. Pryor and Stokes subsequently dated for a number months in 2013. Long’s defense attorneys argued that the relationship created a conflict of interest which merited removing Pryor. As the Journal Sentinel reported, Long’s attorneys asserted that criminal defendants have a right to trial by a “disinterested prosecutor whose vision is not clouded” and “an intimate relationship between a prosecuting attorney and a lead investigative detective would be considered anything but disinterested.”

Judge Andrew Self agreed and said Pryor’s participation in the case would “undermine confidence in the integrity of the judicial system and potentially the integrity of the verdict in this case.”

Long was initially released on bail, although that was revoked earlier this yearafter Jessie Goslyn, Vincent’s wife, agreed to plead guilty and testify against Long. Long’s new bail is $1 million.

Authorities claim that Jessie Goslyn was having an affair with Long and lured her husband out to a remote area of Christian County where Long was waiting to kill him.

A romance between a prosecutor and law enforcement officer became a relevant issue in another murder case on the other side of Kentucky earlier this year.

David Wayne Dooley had been convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Michelle Mockbee, but the conviction and sentence were thrown out after a judge ruled that the Boone County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office withheld material information from the defendant, including a video showing an unknown man trying to enter the building where Dooley and Mockbee both worked hours before the killing occurred.

During the post-conviction proceedings, an illicit affair came to light between Boone County Commonwealth’s Attorney Linda Talley Smith, who was married to a judge, and Boone County Sheriff’s investigator Bruce McVay, the lead investigator in the case.

Talley Smith and McVay contradicted one another about whether they ever discussed the video in question. McVay said he told Talley Smith about the video; she denied ever hearing about it.

Dooley now faces a retrial, which will be handled by the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office.

Talley Smith has faced an avalanche of criticism, including calls for her to resign. A special prosecutor was recently appointed to investigate her conduct.

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