The family of 19-year-old Kenneth Harding, the Seattle man who died in a gunfire battle with police, has retained high-profile civil rights attorney John Burris and could file a lawsuit.
Associate attorney Adante Pointer is demanding that the cops start releasing records, surveillance, and other documents related to the July 15 shooting where Harding and police exchanged bullets, two of which killed Harding.
"We're trying to get down to the bottom of this," Pointer told SF Weekly. "There's been so many conflicting stories. They made statements then doubled back, and witnesses have come forward who are adamant that [Harding] didn't even fire a shot."
Police are telling a much different story. Initially, the theory was that Harding was killed by officers as they fired at each other. As the investigation continued, police confirmed that gunshot residue was found on Harding's right hand, which only bolstered SFPD's argument that he was firing his gun at police.
But on Friday, police released the medical examiner's findings, and concluded that Harding had shot himself in the head during the gunfire
. Police said they do not know whether it was an accident or if he shot himself on purpose -- they only know that he shot himself.
Pointer says that Harding had been staying with his uncle, who lives in the East Bay. He was preparing to start community college this month. Now his family -- most of whom live in Seattle -- have traveled here to try and piece together what many community members have deemed a racially motivated shooting.
"It's so convoluted," Pointer says. "We just want to assist the family so they can decide what they want to do moving forward. Right now, we don't have enough information to know if we want to file a lawsuit, but if we get stonewalled, we might just do that, and we are prepared to do that."
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