People’s Tribunal on Racism and Police Violence
- Charge the SFPD with Murder of Kenneth Harding and Serial Murders in the Black Community!
- Unite to Create an Independent Investigation to Indict the Murderers!
- Justice for Kenneth Harding! Stop the Cover-up!
- Stop Pushing Black People out of San Francisco! NO to “Ethnic Cleansing”!
On Saturday, July 16, 2011, the SFPD killed Kenneth Harding, a 19 year-old Black man, in the Bayview area of San Francisco. Kenneth had just stepped off of a Muni-Metro train and onto the platform, where police were checking people for proof of fare payment.
Called “checkpoints,” these are common ways of criminalizing poor people, especially in neighborhoods undergoing gentrification and resettlement. Checkpoints have multiple purposes. They are used to harass and trap people, violating the human right to freedom of movement. They also help to facilitate the displacement of communities of color and families who come from the Bayview area and have lived there for generations. Checkpoints allow the police to monitor community members’ movements, putting people of color in great fear and ultimately forcing them to relocate from their homes and neighborhoods to ensure their own safety. This paves the way for the area to be redeveloped by major corporations and resettled by whites. In effect, checkpoints are a necessary tool of apartheid and genocide, historically used both in the United States and throughout the world.
The case of Kenneth Harding is a perfect example. When the police approached Kenneth, he ran for his life and they fired at him repeatedly. He died at the hands of the police and another life was lost in their ongoing campaign of genocide against the Black Nation. This terror campaign is happening not only locally and not only to African Americans, but it is happening statewide and nationally, to people of color and poor people overall. Continue reading
July 27, 2011 by MICHAEL CALDERÓN-ZAKS
I should mention my connection to both San Francisco (where I was born, raised, and reside) and Seattle (where I received a Bachelors degree), where 19-year old Kenneth Harding is from and had an exaggerated criminal past. I say exaggerated because even his one conviction was minor compared to the frenzy about him getting his.
Generally, what happened to Harding happens in colonized spaces to colonized subjects, from Hunter’s Point to Baghdad. The victims are people of color. Five centuries of colonially-constructed rationales have served the purpose of minimizing the value of racialized subjects. White supremacist narratives were constructed out of these European conquests of darker peoples and have outlived Jim Crow and formal colonialism. The benefit of the doubt goes to the white occupiers, or to those doing their dirty work and being vouched for, whether the SFPD or the US military. The white supremacist authority in both cases only needs to make a haphazard justification for its shoot-first and ask-questions-later approach. Being shot in the back for being black or brown will be justified by a complicit corporate press, and Harding’s exaggerated criminal past is the latest example.
In the immediate frenzy, the SFPD manipulated the vagaries of the incident. They claimed that he shot at them, but witnesses said that the bullets only went in one direction. If one looks at the first video taken, you can see him laying in his own blood, with no crowd around him except for the police aiming their guns at him while they could’ve attempted to save him but didn’t bother. The next video shows a crowd on the opposite side of Harding’s soon-to-be corpse, and a gun behind them. Why didn’t the officers see the gun, which surfaced at least 20 feet ahead of Harding, before a crowd could impede their vision of it? Why also did they not expand the crime scene to include the area where a gun was picked up off the ground? The disconnect between Harding and that gun lead many to believe that it was planted. However, no such possibility of a planted weapon exists in the mainstream media, which, at best merely refuses to challenge dominant paradigms or narratives, and at worst, continues to invest in stereotypical narratives that rationalize the status quo benefitting a white power structure. Continue reading
[The SFPD refuses to release the names of the cops who shot and killed Kenneth Harding on Saturday, July 16, 2011. Cops who have a history–who are serial abusers and killers–are protected from public scrutiny and condemnation by this official policy. At the same time, the police and their media mouthpieces spin alibis and excuses for the police attacks on the black community. But the people are not silent. Radio journalist Davey D of KPFA’s Hard Knock Radio interviewed witnesses from the community. And Refa1, a revolutionary artist and “Panther cub”, provides a picture of what the people are up against. — Frontlines ed.]
Listen to Davey D’s report here: http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/71633
[Since this police murder, the SFPD has expended massive efforts to make claims of “evidence”–which may have been planted–that the victim was a gunman and the aggressor, and further, that the victim was a criminal, a “bad person,” who deserves no consideration or sympathy. As further reports and challenges of the police “evidentiary claims” and “discrediting witnesses” campaign and “criminalizing the victim” campaign unfolds, Frontlines will report. — Frontlines ed.]
The first cell phone camera video. (NOTE: This footage is very disturbing, not to be shown to children)
The initial local ABC news report–see the on the spot interviews
The report from the SF Bayview newspaper:
By Willie Ratcliff
San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper
When police stopped a teenager stepping off the T-train yesterday to show his transfer as proof he’d paid his fare – $2 at most – he ran from them. They shot him as many as 10 times in the back and neck, according to witnesses. For many long minutes, as a crowd watched in horror, the boy, who had fallen to the sidewalk a block away, lay in a quickly growing pool of blood writhing in pain and trying to lift himself up as the cops trained their guns on him and threatened bystanders.
This frame from a video shot by a bystander shows the teenager struggling to lift himself out of a pool of his own blood as a San Francisco police officer – one of several – aims his gun at the boy rather than trying to save his life. The teen, Kenneth Harding, is loudly moaning in pain and crying out for help. Continue reading