Protest of Fatal Police Shooting Ends In 35 Arrests
San Francisco Chronicle via YellowBrix
July 20, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO — Gunshot residue was found on the hand of a man fatally shot by San Francisco police, officials said Tuesday, a finding that could bolster officers’ assertion that the man opened fire on them before he was killed. Also Tuesday, more than 35 people protesting the shooting were arrested in downtown San Francisco.
Kenneth Wade Harding, 19, was shot and killed in the Bayview neighborhood Saturday after he allegedly fired at two officers who had asked him if he had a Muni ticket.
Harding was a Washington state parolee who was being sought for questioning in connection with a Seattle killing last week. He ran from the San Francisco officers and fired a gun from under his arm before the officers shot back and struck him, police said.
About 150 people gathered in Dolores Park at 5 p.m. to protest Harding’s shooting and Bay Area police conduct in general.
Dozens of protesters marched from the park through the Mission and Castro districts during the evening, shutting down streets and at one point storming the Castro Muni station. Inside, some protesters threw smoke bombs and used sticks and hammers to smash signs and vandalized a Bank of America branch, according to police.
They also stopped in front of the Mission Police Station, where they threw a hammer at officers, who were not hit. One protester attempted to take a camera away from a member of a local TV news crew – police made an arrest in that incident, Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman, said.
The protesters moved toward downtown and the Powell Street cable car turnaround, disrupting Muni service and traffic. When they ignored orders to clear the street, police surrounded the group and made arrests. Several others were arrested nearby after scuffling with police.
The discovery of gunshot residue on Harding’s right hand “supports statements from witnesses that Harding held the gun in his right hand as he fired at the police officers,” Esparza said.
The residue could indicate either that Harding fired a gun, was in close proximity to a gun as it was fired, or touched a gun or other object with gunshot residue, Esparza said.
In addition to Saturday’s shooting, there has been outrage over a July 3 shooting in which BART police killed Charles Blair Hill, a 45-year-old transient. Police said Hill threw a bottle at two officers and pulled a knife before one of the officers shot him to death on the BART Civic Center Station platform in San Francisco.
But it was the Saturday shooting that most outraged protesters. Police did not find a gun at the scene, near Third Street and Oakdale Avenue, but an online video taken just after Harding was shot showed what appeared to be a gun on the ground. Police later found what they believe was the gun, a .45-caliber pistol, at the home of a parolee in the Bayview.
Police Chief Greg Suhr is scheduled to attend a community meeting about the shooting at 6 p.m. today at the Bayview Opera House, 4705 Third St.