SFPD tightens its chokehold on Bayview Hunters Point since killing Kenneth Harding

Pack the courtroom for Kilo G’s TRO hearing on Friday, Aug. 12, 9 a.m., Room 514, SF Superior Court, 400 McAllister at Polk – come at 8:30 for the press conference

by mesha Monge-Irizarry, Idriss Stelley Foundation

The latest target of a San Francisco police wave of terror is Kilo G. Perry, videographer, freedom fighter, peacemaker and educator and the disabled single father of a 3-year-old boy. Ever since the July 16 killing of Kenneth Wade Harding Jr., 19, at Third and Oakdale by the SFPD thugs in blue, our Bayview Hunters Point community has been threatened, harassed and terrorized by the police more than in recent memory – some say more than in 45 years since the September 1966 rebellion following the police killing of Matthew Johnson, 17, when police sharpshooters and National Guard tanks filled Third Street.

No tanks so far, but a “surge” of police reassigned to patrol BVHP since Kenny’s death take aim daily at anyone they think might incite a community response, especially residents who speak out publicly. Henry Taylor, the first reported target, was arrested just prior to the July 20 meeting at the Bayview Opera House called by Police Chief Greg Suhr, then released without charge the next day.

Jailed after speaking to the press

Henry, a direct eyewitness to the killing, had been widely quoted disputing the police version of the killing – that Kenny had a gun and fired at the police before they fired at him. According to Huffington Post, “Eyewitnesses … [told] ABC7 News they didn’t see any shots being fired at the officers.

“‘I just seen shots going forward,’ said resident Henry Taylor. ‘I didn’t see shots coming backwards.’”

Strangely, that quote is now missing from the ABC7 story cited as its source by Huffington Post. It’s been wiped clean from the San Francisco Examiner, too, which had also cited ABC7 as the source.

Debray Carpenter, better known in the community as Fly Benzo, 22, also widely quoted in the first mainstream media stories on the killing, was arrested after the meeting at the Opera House, where the outraged crowd booed Chief Suhr off the stage. The San Francisco Chronicle reported: “Carpenter said he was disappointed by the forum.

“‘I feel like it went nowhere – our questions were left unanswered,’ he said. ‘We need to shut down the T line until we get answers to our demands – no police on trains, free trains or no trains at all. We’ll make sure there are no trains at all if that’s the way they want it.’”

One of the spearheaders of the struggle for justice for Kenneth Harding, Benzo referred to Muni’s Third Street light rail line because Kenny had just stepped off a T-train when two officers asked to see his transfer as proof he’d paid his $2 fare. He ran from them, and they opened fire. Residents of more upscale neighborhoods say that armed police never conduct fare inspections there. (See the statement of mayoral candidate Teresa Baum below.)

Whenever we talk about boycotting or disrupting transit, all hell breaks loose. The police, who serve and protect the wealthy and corporate interests in the tradition of the slave catchers, crack down on “dissident” voices with brutal force.

Benzo, arrested by nine cops, was released from jail several days later after the community “phone blasted” the DA’s Office demanding his release and dismissal of all charges. One of those charges reportedly was assault on an executive officer, evidently referring to the tough questions Benzo threw at Chief Suhr before Suhr admitted defeat and left the Opera House, saying, according to the Chronicle, “They shouted me down.”

Police terrorism in the town square

On the block where Kenneth Harding was accosted and shot by SFPD is Mendell Plaza, which serves as a town square for Bayview Hunters Point at its main intersection. A farmers’ market used to be held there, events take place often and people congregate there every day. When police harass or attack someone there in broad daylight and in view of dozens of people, they must be intending to intimidate and terrorize the community.

The peaceful, congenial spirit of the plaza has been broken repeatedly since Kenny was killed. Gentle “TipToe,” a brother with severe cerebral palsy, was brutally assaulted by the police. So were “Little Skip” and “Bo” – all of them well known and liked in the community. Bo had a seizure, and the cops who brutalized him mocked him: “Bo, you’re faking!”

Frail elder Charles “Chuck” Nolan, who suffers from longstanding severe asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), was attacked last Saturday, July 30, merely for standing with about 75 people listening to speakers at a rally to protest the killing of Kenneth Harding organized by the October 22 Coalition against Police Brutality. Chuck and Henry Taylor were the only Blacks in the audience.

Police, perhaps fearing Chuck might speak to the crowd, grabbed him, threw him to the ground and handcuffed him as he struggled to breathe. His cruel arrest was caught on video.

Officers took Chuck to San Francisco General Hospital, then released him to the street that night without charge.

Kilo G. Perry pepper sprayed for daring to film police brutality

It was community videographer Keith G. Perry, 57, better known as Kilo, who recorded Chuck Nolan’s arrest. Now he has become the target of police retaliation. Brother Kilo, the single father of a 3-year-old boy named Angel, has suffered for the past seven years from a painful neurological disability that affects his right arm and hand, causing him excruciating pain when unknowing people shake his hand. Kilo can only type with one finger.

A community peacemaker and producer of “Cameras Not Guns,” Kilo G. has been catching police-community interactions on video. And the police in turn have been taking pictures of him on the street, trying to intimidate him, yelling, “Hey, Kilo G., we got ya on your Facebook.”

Last Sunday, July 31, the day after the rally, the sparring culminated with police pepper spraying Kilo G. merely for filming them! Amazi, who works with Kevin Epps, the critically acclaimed filmmaker of “Straight Outta Hunters Point” and “The Black Rock,” and Lynn Daniels of Channel 29 were among the crowd witnessing this outrageous attack.

SFPD Capt. Paul Chignell, who heads the Bayview precinct station, was there. He asked Kilo if he wanted an ambulance, and Kilo was taken to San Francisco General for treatment, then released.

A few days later, two cops served Kilo G. with a temporary restraining order. They said that Kilo, as he was being pepper-sprayed, had sexually threatened and assaulted Officer Julia Angalet when he echoed the angry crowd saying, “Get up off here with that faggot shit!” I wonder, if he’d called her a pig, would they be alleging animal cruelty.

Officer Williams, who served Kilo with the TRO, told him: “If we see you anywhere near Third and Oakdale [the corner where, on July 16, Kenneth Harding lay unattended, struggling for life in a pool of his own blood, as police trained their guns on him] we will personally arrest you. You are going to jail!”

As usual, 3-year-old Angel was with his father at the time, and Kilo asked the officers not to make such threats in front of his little boy. Kilo is his sole caretaker.

To see the temporary restraining order against Kilo, click here.

‘I’m on it,’ pledge District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen and Sgt. Hall

Kilo called District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen, who represents Bayview Hunters Point, about the pepper spraying incident. “I’m on it,” she told him.

Sgt. Dean Hall of the Bayview police station was also contacted by Kilo. “I’m gonna handle it,” he pledged. But their protracted silence remains deafening.

So Kilo G. filed a complaint with the San Francisco Office of Citizens Complaints. Under Director Joyce Hicks, the OCC has been sustaining only 3 percent of the complaints filed against SFPD. But filing with OCC is a mandatory step before the matter can be taken to Internal Affairs and to the Police Commission, on which, out of seven commissioners, the people have only one fierce ally, civil rights attorney Petra DeJesus. Angela Chan, director of Asian Law Caucus, is helpful on some issues. Petra is the sole commissioner, for example, who opposes a contract with Taser International to arm SFPD officers with tasers.

Pack the courtroom on Aug. 12

Comrade Kilo G.’s TRO hearing is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 12, 9 a.m., in Room 514, San Francisco Superior Court, 400 McAllister, at Polk Street. If the judge chooses to believe the police, a three-year restraining order could be issued against Kilo, barring him from being anywhere near Officer Angalet, the Bayview police station or her patrol car. If she comes at him in the next three years, Kilo could be found in violation of his restraining order and face a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail. Who would then take care of his baby, Angel?

Police continue to accost Kilo G. on the streets, repeatedly asking him if he is on parole or probation, when a simple check from a patrol car’s computer system would turn up a clean record in their database within seconds.

So please come out to support Brother Kilo on Aug. 12. If he and Fly Benzo and Henry Taylor can find the courage to speak up and bear witness for us all, you can too!

Typical of the critical role Kilo plays in the community and the high esteem he’s held in is this message posted by a young woman yesterday on his Facebook wall urging everyone to attend his hearing: “Where is the freedom to view whatever he chooses to view? No one says a word when media is out there. I pray Mr. Perry pleads not guilty, takes it all the way.

“He is a necessity out there in them streets. Nobody else is gonna tell the truth. At least he has a camera. But that’s OK. After this, we need to help this brother invest in a wide or long view lens or something so he can do like media do and sit a half block away and see everything like he’z right there.

Kilo G. Perry is a necessity out there in them streets. Nobody else is gonna tell the truth. Please go speak up for this brother.

“Please go speak up for this brother. Make sure u use a low tone and choose your words carefully. Remember you’re on their ground! Play the game.”

‘I paid my debt to society’

Kilo, who agreed to interview with us at the Idriss Stelley Foundation office, has “paid his debt to society,” as he puts it and has stayed out of the correctional system for the past 16 years, educating youth on non-violence, alternatives to illicit activities, survival and sustainability.

Sustaining the Black community in San Francisco is not to the liking of the powers that be, who shamelessly expedite “Negro removal,” the gentrification process set in motion decades ago. From a high of 13.4 percent of San Francisco’s population in 1970, Blacks have now plummeted to 6 percent or less – the most rapid decline in the Black population of any city in the country.

Kilo G. Perry can be contacted through email at g.styleent@yahoo.com or through Facebook at http://facebook.com/kilo.perry/.

Mesha Monge-Irizarry, mother of Idriss Stelley, who was murdered by San Francisco police June 13, 2001, heads the Idriss Stelley Foundation, the foremost Bay Area agency dedicated to police accountability. ISF provides direct services for survivors of police misconduct and grieving families of loved ones killed by law enforcement, attorney referrals, counseling and support groups, help with organizing press conferences, rallies and protests. Located in the Redstone Building Suite 209, at 2940 16th St., at Capp Street, half a block from the 16th Street BART Station and Muni lines 14, 14L, 22, 33 and 49, the office is wheelchair accessible. Contact ISF through its bilingual crisis line at (415) 595-8251 or through Facebook.

Green Party mayoral candidate Teresa Baum calls for independent investigation of Kenneth Harding’s death

by Teresa Baum

As a candidate for mayor of San Francisco, I join other outraged citizens in calling for an independent investigation of the death of Kenneth Wade Harding Jr. Considering the terrible history of police-community relations in Bayview Hunters Point, considering the history of neglect of the needs of these people by the city, it is understandable that this neighborhood cannot just accept the police department’s version of this tragic death and move on.

There are many troubling questions posed by Harding’s death. Why were police looking for fare evaders in the first place? This is a job for unarmed fare inspectors. Certainly, we don’t see police performing this function in Noe Valley, where I live. Why would police pursue, with guns drawn, someone running from the crime of not having a transfer? Who shot first? Only eyewitnesses can tell us this, and perhaps we will never know with absolutely certainty the answer to this question. Why did police risk the safety of neighborhood children by shooting in the direction of a crowded playground in the middle of the day?

Indeed, no agency can effectively investigate itself. And the incentive is enormous for the police to cover up the possibility that they killed Kenneth Harding. The police press release about the caliber of the fatal bullet made it seem that they were reporting the medical examiner’s results. But in an interview by the Bay Guardian, the Medical Examiner made it clear that it was not her job or her field of expertise to evaluate the caliber of the bullet. The police alone decided that the bullet that killed Harding was a different caliber from the Police Department’s own guns.

In the past year, the San Francisco police have killed Vihn Bui, a mentally ill man in his home in the Bayview, and shot Randal Dunklin through the back of his wheelchair in SoMa. BART police killed Charles Blair Hill, a homeless drunken man, at the Civic Center Station. And now Kenneth Harding. The police are creating a climate of fear in neighborhoods that are ripe for gentrification. It is understandable if the residents feel they’re being pressured to move out, so that others with more money can move in. This is not the San Francisco I want to live in. An investigation by truly independent outsiders would be a step toward creating a climate of police accountability and compassion in our city.

This is another of Kilo’s videos. On YouTube, he explains: “This is a slide show that I did for a presentation in my African American history class. It basically shows Black people as slaves and free people – who Blacks were, are and can possibly be.”