Update, 6:34 p.m.: Muni spokesman Paul Rose confirms the protest blocked the N and J lines at Church and Duboce from roughly 4:21-4:36 p.m. Service on both lines resumed shortly after they cleared.
He believes the protesters left and moved down Market Street. They were last reported outside the SFMTA building.
Original Story: Today is the second anniversary of the shooting death of 19-year-old Kenneth Harding, and activists want to commemorate it by ruining your commute.
Just like last year, the outspoken folks from the Answer Coalition are planning a protest and vigil to mark the two-year anniversary that Harding was shot and killed by San Francisco police, after he allegedly attempted to dodge paying his Muni fare.
While it was the cops involved in Harding's death, the protesters claim Muni should take some responsibility, too, since they ask for the cops to conduct fare inspections. So to call attention to Muni's role, which is a stretch, the group has decided to punish commuters and is going to try and bring the rail line to a screeching halt at 4 p.m. today.
Here's how they explain it:
While the family still awaits information for an investigation of the police; the Kenneth Harding Jr. Foundation would like to call upon everyone to come together in solidarity to support a transit shut down against the San Francisco Municipal Transit.MUNI Transit has to take responsibility for their role in this horrific murder. They request for police officers to conduct fare inspections within the impoverished areas and upon the "impoverished" youth and people of color. We want free transit for all youth; no one should have to worry about losing their life for not having transit fare, and/or not paying transit fare. No one should be racially profiled, stopped and frisked, and/or have their rights violated to determine if they have paid transit fare. Everyone should have the right to ride transit without fear of losing their life.
We are asking for full support and cooperation from all unions especially transit, organizations, movements, and our community members. We want mothers who have lost their children to step up and speak out with us on this day and allow your cries to be heard. We want to affect the city of San Francisco's economic system in order to allow our voices to be heard. We are asking those who stand in solidarity against police brutality and those who would like to help organize and/or endorse the shutdown to contact the Kenneth Harding Jr. Foundation at (415) 505-6331 or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are all still Kenneth Harding Jr., Alan Blueford, Derrick Gaines, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Rhamarley Graham, Raheim Brown, James Rivera Jr., Gary King Jr., Mario Romero, Ernest Duenez Jr., and so many more...
THEY TAKE US DOWN - WE SHUT THEM DOWN!
On July 16, 2011, police in the Bayview allegedly chased after Harding when he attempted to dodge his Muni fare. During the footchase, police claim he shot himself in the neck as he was firing at the cops behind him -- and that's what killed him.
Harding was no innocent man. According to authorities, he had a violent criminal history, including a rape conviction and was also the suspect in the fatal shooting of 19-year-old Tanaya Gilbert in Seattle that occurred just days before he died.
At the time of his death, Harding was on parole for pimping a 14-year-old girl in Seattle.
We contacted Muni spokesman Paul Rose to both inform him of this planned shutdown and get a response from him. He said he'd look into it. We'll let you know what to expect as soon as we hear back.
On another transit note, we hear things are not going well with BART negotiations.
Update 10:20 a.m.: Paul Rose, spokesman for Muni, got back to us, saying "We are aware of the planned protest and will monitor the situation throughout the day and, if needed, make the necessary service adjustments."