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Thursday, July 21, 2011

35 Arrested Protesting Police Killing of 19-Year-Old in San Francisco

Tension among community members and San Francisco police is rising this week following the July 16th killing of 19-year-old Kenneth Wade Harding by SFPD officers in the city’s black Bayview district. The disturbing incident was captured by cell phone cameras and uploaded to Youtube on Sunday, sparking outrage as it made the digital-rounds.

Earlier this week, residents took the streets in protest of what they’re calling “transit racism,” and heightened police surveillance in communities of color. And on Wednesday, a community meeting intended to help relieve the tension ended in the city’s police chief being booed out the Bayview district.

Demonstrators took to the streets Tuesday night to protest what they see as a recurring trend of police brutality. The group of more than 150, holding a banner that read “They can’t shoot us all,” and chanting “How do you spell murder? S. F. P. D.,” began at Dolores Park and marched towards downtown and through the Castro District. More than 35 protesters were arrested for unlawful assembly. A few others were locked up for vandalism.
The protest occurred the same day that San Francisco police announced that gunshot residue had been found on Harding’s right hand, which, along with data collected from a gunshot-location system, seemingly confirms claims by police that Harding shot at officers before they opened fire. Harding, a Seattle resident, was stopped by police in the Bayview district Saturday afternoon to check if he was carrying a Muni ticket. He ran from the officers, but was eventually shot and killed. The last moments of his life were captured on video.

The upsetting footage shows officers surrounding Harding with guns drawn as he lays on his stomach, barely moving and bleeding profusely. A number of bystanders watch nearby, yelling, “Where’s the gun?” and “Your career is over” at the officers, one of whom is armed with an assault rifle. FULL STORY

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