Why you can’t trust SFPD: Update on police shooting of 19-year-old Kenneth Harding

Please join us Friday, July 22, for a community vigil, “Mourn the Dead, Fight Like Hell for the Living,” at 6 p.m. at the corner of Third Street and Palou in Mendell Plaza. The recent events in the Bayview have demonstrated a community that is tired of violence, whether it’s at the hands of the San Francisco Police Department or other means.

We’ll be building a community altar, so please bring pictures or keepsakes of loved ones lost to violence. We want to create a space where Bayview folks can talk about how violence in the community has impacted us, and also to talk about where we go from here. – Alicia Garza, POWER, (415) 864-8372, ext. 305

by Davey D

Here’s a few stories and updates on the recent tragic shooting of 19-year-old Kenneth Harding this past Saturday in San Francisco’s Bayview district. First we have our Hard Knock Radio coverage where we spoke to several witnesses to the shooting along with community activists.

Folks we talked to in the Bayview vehemently refute the accounts given by the police who claim Harding shot at them. Witnesses we spoke to in the Bayview say that’s not true.

Others also want to know why we have not seen the multiple witnesses the police have laid claim to. Why have they not stepped forth to speak? Why haven’t other news agencies discovered these witnesses and brought them forth for us to hear and see?

SFPD also claims to have found gun residue on the hands of Kenneth Harding. My question is what news outlets have independently verified this?

Some may ask why be so distrustful of “San Francisco’s finest”? Well, as San Francisco filmmaker and Bayview resident Kevin Epps pointed out, SFPD has already lost credibility with the public. Many have forgotten it was just three months ago SFPD was rocked with a scandal that involved dozens of felony cases being dropped because cops were shown on video behaving in unethical manners ranging from falsifying reports, illegally searching suspects, stealing from victims etc. What was shown was believed to be the tip of the iceberg and as a result a federal investigation was launched.

If that wasn’t enough, the scandal, which was the largest in the recent history of the San Francisco Police Department, wasn’t discovered and “policed” by the department itself. It was Jeff Adachi, the city’s public defender, and private defense lawyers who did the heavy lifting. Much of the scandal took place during the tenure of former Police Chief George Gascon, who now serves as district attorney. Talk about conflict of interest. At last count, a whopping 57 felony cases were dropped.

With all that in mind, there’s no way the citizens of San Francisco, especially those in the Bayview, can confidently trust the police are gonna be forthright in their findings, especially if something egregious took place.

It’s interesting to note that many who staunchly support the police while overlooking these recent scandals are hell bent on suggesting that because Harding had a criminal past he deserved to be shot. That’s wrong on all angles.

As community advocate and SF City Commissioner Mesha Irizarry pointed out, it doesn’t matter if Harding was the poster child for a chain saw massacre, he gets to have his day in court like anyone else. Police are not judge, jury and executioner no matter what.

Even if he shot at them as alleged by the police, once he was taken down, medical aid was to be immediately administered. Police are trained to be first responders. The graphic video along with witness statements shows the police didn’t aid Harding; they let him die.

We encourage folks to peep “Killed for riding while poor” by Tiny Gray-Garcia of POOR Magazine.

Listen to Davey D on Hard Knock Radio Monday-Friday at 4 p.m. on KPFA 94.1 FM or kpfa.org. He can be reached at mrdaveyd@aol.com. Visit his website, daveyd.com, and his blog, Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner, where this story first appeared.