Police Chief Greg Suhr made a visit to his old stamping grounds in the Bayview last night to try to do what he supposedly did best when he was the captain of that district: diffuse the hostility.
But Suhr didn't exactly get the warm welcome he once had. Instead, he found it somewhat difficult to talk to the crowd of 200 people who packed the Bayview Opera House to hear what he had to say about Saturday's shooting, where officers killed 19-year-old Kenneth Harding.
The chief didn't get very far. As the Chron reports, "Within 30 minutes, it fell apart." Suhr was interrupted and booed. At one point the chief stepped off the stage, presumably to take a breather, before returning to take the crowd on again.
Naturally, people are upset. They claim police didn't give Harding medical attention after shooting him -- and they want to know why. Bystanders released video of the incident, which shows Harding rolling on the ground, bleeding. He died later that day.
The forum was held to give Bayview residents a chance to talk directly to the chief, but some of their questions will probably rename unanswered, like the names of the officers involved in the shooting.
"Everybody is upset. Everybody wants to vent," Suhr said during the forum
Police have said that Harding, a Seattle parolee, fired at them as he ran toward Mendell Plaza Saturday afternoon after he tried to dodge paying his Muni fare. Officers started shooting back; 10 shots were fired in six seconds. On Tuesday, Suhr released new information that says they found gunshot residue on Harding's right hand
, which suggests that he fired at police.
On Tuesday night, police arrested 43 people during a sometimes-violent protest in reaction to the weekend shooting. Suhr was hopeful to smooth things over with his town hall on Wednesday night.
"They shouted me down -- that just means I've got to come back again," Suhr told reporters.
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