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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Kenneth Harding Rally Turns Violent, Police Arrest 43

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 7:40 AM

click to enlarge Tension in the air
  • Tension in the air

Angry protesters tossed smoke bombs and disrupted Muni service yesterday evening shortly after police released information that suggested 19-year-old Kenneth Harding had indeed fired at cops before they shot and killed him. 

Roughly 150 people gathered in Dolores Park at about 5 last night to kick off what became a few hours of chaos and mayhem in response to the officer-involved shooting in Bayview this past weekend. Protesters walked through the Mission and Castro neighborhoods, using sticks and hammers to smash signs and vandalize buildings. 

At one point, protesters threw a hammer at cops standing outside the Mission police station, and tried to wrestle away a camera from a reporter, according to new reports. No officers were injured.

Groups then stormed the Castro Muni station and disrupted traffic along Market Street, forcing police to close some streets. Officers circled protesters, who ignored their orders to clear the area. After some brief scuffles, police then arrested 43 people, 17 of whom were San Francisco residents and 26 from outside the county. One person was from out of state..

The rally started about an hour after Chief Greg Suhr released a statement to the media, saying that gunshot residue was found on Harding's right hand. That only strengthened the SFPD's claim that he had fired his pistol at officers before they shot him.

Police were conducting Muni fare inspections on the Third Street light rail Saturday afternoon when Harding took off running after dodging his fare. As cops chased him toward the Mendell Plaza, Harding allegedly fired at officers, who then fired back. Ten shots were fired in six seconds. Harding, a convicted sex offender and parolee, died at San Francisco General Hospital later that day.

Police say that Harding had been a person of interest in the shooting death of 19-year-old Tanaya Gilbert last week in Seattle.

According to police, gunshot residue on a person's hand indicates that the individual fired a gun, the individual was close to a gun as it was discharged, or that the individual touched a gun or other object with gunshot residue on its surface and particles were transferred to his or her hands.

Suhr will hold a town hall meeting tonight at 6 at the Bayview Opera House to discuss the shooting.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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