The Militant (logo)  

Vol. 75/No. 28      August 1, 2011

S.F. cops kill youth
in chase over 75 fare
(front page)
SAN FRANCISCO—Police shot and killed a 19-year-old Black man here July 16 after they chased him for an alleged 75-cent “fare evasion.” The San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office identified the victim as Kenneth Harding of Seattle. Police refuse to reveal the names of the cops who killed him.

According to press reports and residents interviewed by the Militant, the young man was waiting on the platform on the T-Third Street light rail line when he was approached by two uniformed San Francisco police officers as part of a “violence reduction” operation.

“He was sitting on the platform. They targeted him,” said Rashid Preston, a computer science student at City College of San Francisco who lives nearby. “They sit here and bother us all day.”

“You see this type of racial profiling every day by police officers. It never stops,” said Ashawn Hunter, also a City College student.

According to press reports, the victim was shot from behind multiple times a few hundred yards from the train stop as he was running from the police.

Two videos posted on the Internet show the youth lying in a pool of blood surrounded by cops with guns drawn.

Cops allege he drew a gun and fired at them while running, an accusation disputed by resident Henry Taylor. “What I saw was a young man running for his life,” Taylor told the San Francisco Chronicle. Police claim they retrieved Harding’s gun the following day.

Immediately after the shooting, dozens of cops closed off a three-block area, including busy Third Street. Residents expressed their anger and outrage while cops in riot gear, clubs and guns drawn, stood shoulder to shoulder. One resident said she counted more than 60 cops. An armored assault vehicle was on the scene as well.

“If a 75-cent transfer means that much, if it’s going to cost the lives of our kids, take the ‘T-line’ away,” said Kitty, a retired Muni operator who lives in the neighborhood and asked that her last name not be used. “The police target this station for fare-evasion citations. They have been ‘head-hunting’ here—it’s been ugly.”

The police department has portrayed Harding as a “pimp,” parole violator, and suspected killer. A press conference and speak-out against police brutality of about 100 people was held July 18.

The killing comes only two weeks after Bay Area Rapid Transit cops killed 45-year-old Charles Hill on the Civic Center train platform July 3. Hill, who was Caucasian, homeless, and had a history of mental illness, was killed during a one-minute confrontation.
Related articles:
‘The police turned the victim into the criminal’  
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