Killed for riding while poor

A young man was shot for not having a transfer

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OPINION We sat together: elders, youth, workers, students, and folks. We were on our way to a low-paid job, an overpriced university, a pre-gentrified home and a public school. There was laughter and shouts, murmurs and silence. Then suddenly, there were nine heavily armed police officers and fare inspectors walking through the crowded 14 Mission Muni line. One stopped in front of me and my son.

"I don't have a transfer, I lost it," I tentatively answered a cop who asked to see my paperwork as I clutched my son's stroller and tried to see how close I was to the back door of the bus.

"We will have to write you a citation and you will have to step off the bus — now." He was yelling at me and was flanked by another officer. I knew I couldn't make a run for it, but I almost tried.

I thought of this moment when I heard about the 19-year-old man shot by the SFPD while running away from a Muni bus because he didn't have a transfer in the Bayview July 16.

Shot and killed for not having $2 bus fare.

At a press conference held July 18 at the scene of the shooting, Joanne Abernathy from People Organized to Win Employment Rights made the point: "No one should be shot for not having enough money to ride the bus."

For the last few years, police presence on Muni has increased — as have attacks on poor people and people of color whose only crime is not having enough money to ride the increasingly expensive so-called public transportation known as Muni. From fare inspectors working for Muni to fully armed officers, they form a terrifying mob waiting menacingly at bus stops in the Mission, Ingleside, Bayview, and Tenderloin, and then enter buses to harass, eject, and cite anyone too poor to ride.

The police said the man pointed a gun. That's what they consistently claim when rationalizing involved shootings. Several eyewitnesses said otherwise.

But before we get caught up in whether he had a gun or not, let's stay with the real point: this young man was shot for not having a transfer. He was shot for not having $2. How did we get here?

Even if you are a supporter of the police, you have to see the Les Miserables-esque insanity in this shooting.

Police culture enables, allows, and encourages the use of deadly force — so much so that it seems at times as if killing can happen for any old thing. Throw in institutional racism and classism, and more and more people will not only be incarcerated but killed with impunity.

"Don't get on the bus again if you don't have the fare or you might be arrested," the cop on Muni told me. He ended by giving me a citation and kicking me off the bus. He should have added "killed" to his threat of what would happen to us for riding while poor.

Tiny, also known as Lisa Gray-Garcia, is coeditor of POOR Magazine.

 

Comments

Greg - you never have a solution which doesn't involve "taxing the rich" and spending more money.

The kid was shot because he fired at the police. Not because he decided he wanted to ride Muni for free - just the latest of his long and increasingly more dangerous violations of the law. He got caught because he decided he got to ride for free.

Your solution is absurd and emblematic of everything wrong with progressive thinking in SF today. Make people who obey the laws pay more so those who don't won't have to worry about the consequences of breaking them.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 9:39 am

He didn't die because he didn't have two dollars and

Timothy McVeigh didn't die because he was caught speeding as progressives would lead us to believe. It was the direct result of his actions.

It's odd that I'm defending cops, but Greg's progressive logic is so bizarre that I'm put in this very odd for me situation.

One wonders at the life experiences of people who defacto think gun wielding thugs should be given free rides on MUNI so that they don't have to make the choice to shoot at cops. What else should we give away and make legal so that day to day living will be more comfortable for sociopaths who don't value the lives of others or themselves?

Posted by matlock on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 10:26 am

"It's odd that I'm defending cops, but Greg's progressive logic is so bizarre that I'm put in this very odd for me situation."

I haven't seen you write a single word that HASN'T been on the side of cops. Ever. Why lie about your sympathies when the lie is so obvious?

Posted by Greg on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

Having a fair number of run ins with the man as a youth. I find one quality of life issue to be the ability to go about my day without being fucked with by the man or the ramifications of endless bench warrants.

For example

I know understand the point of some of the laws I was badgered with. I understand that while I may be able to drink a beer at the bus stop and not bother anyone, our golden hobo's will do it all day getting further wasted and abusive, so there are laws around public drinking. I have to obey laws directed to curb the antics of FU's. In SF there is a pretty happy medium, if you don't bother the cops they in general will not bother you unless you are doing something to get their attention Thus increasing my quality of life.

If for example you shoot at a cop they will shoot back. I also pay when I ride public transit, "keeping it real" may in theory sound awesome. So that's how I get by without being filled full of holes or spending my days dealing with an endless string of bench warrants.

I don't have much pity for people who can not follow these simple societal dictates.

From a guy who literally loves new and more invasive laws you sure have a strange view of the enforcement process.

Posted by matlock on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 4:08 pm

I hope people are aware that "poor" people can get a MUNI fast pass for $30. Anyone on GA, Food Stamps, CalWORKs, or other public assistance, OR who can show that their income in below a certain amount can get these passes.

There is no excuse for jumping on trains without paying fares and pleading "poor".

I'm really sorry for the guys that will not play the game and assume that they can get away with not playing by the rules will work for them. Those days are over.

If this black kid was so "poor", he should have gotten a low income Fast Pass. The fact that he didn't is no one's fault. Move on, please.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 9:40 am

this guy died because he failed one of the first lessons of thug 101 - don't fire at the police because they will fire back. their aim is likely better than yours and there are lots more of them; you will likely be killed.

he was not shot because he was poor or because he ran. he was shot because he brandished a weapon and fired it at the police.

i am rarely one to take the side of the cops when it comes to misconduct of any sort but the facts are so overwhelmingly on their side that this is becoming a farcical display of activistism and outrage for outrage's sake.

i'm almost tempted to believe that folks would be blaming the cops if this idiot actually hit someone with his stray bullet (as he allegedly did in seattle).

Posted by guest on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 10:13 am

i should also say that while its always a shame when someone is killed like this, i am for one relieved that he will not be skulking around my neighborhood (i live in the bayview and have had stray bullets fly into my bedroom). good riddance

Posted by guest on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 10:21 am

It seems as if a lot of this discussion misses the point. The cops who fired at this guy had no idea whether he had a criminal record or not. The fact that he was an ex-con is utterly irrelevant to the question of whether the shooting was legit.

The reason the encounter started: The SFPD was looking for Muni fare evaders. Seems like an awful waste of money; cops make about $75K a year. How many fare evaders (as $2 a pop) would they have to catch to make that pencil out?

When sworn officers catch a fare evader, they demand ID and run warrant checks. When Muni fare inspectors (unarmed) do the same thing, they just write a citation. If a fare inspector had been on duty without armed cops, this never would have happened.

So the man sees the cops and runs. Pretty predictable behavior for someone who has had bad experiences with the authorities. My question: Why pursue? Why not just let him go? It was only $2. Not as if he robbed a bank. If the cops had just ignroed him and let him go, would he have fired a gun (if indeed he did fire a gun)?

This whole incident reminds me of the Amory Lovins phrase about cutting butter with a chainsaw. This is too much force and too much firepoer (and too much death) over too little ... a $2 Muni fare.

That's the point here.

Posted by tim on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 10:38 am

this guy is a very bad poster-child for any legitimate critique of cops, of excessive force, or for misplaced policing priorities. holding him up does a disservice to every innocent victim of trigger happy cops or for any rational discussion of this issue.

all that shit is beside the point. he fired a weapon (over his shoulder according to the cops) and could have hit anyone in the area.

and if they did let him go, then what. we have a convicted pimp/sex trafficker wanted for questioning in connection with a homicide running around the bayview with a gun.

he got what was coming to him. good riddance.

Posted by guest on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 11:56 am

The first position is a sophisticated busted drug dealer chain of events argument.

"If I had just changed a few things in the chain of events I would still be still selling petty amounts of drugs on 16th st."

It's not a flaw in the conceptual framework, but in the execution.

The second is the whole "no wrong answer methodology of true believers"

Follow this

1. "The cops who fired at this guy had no idea whether he had a criminal record or not."

The cops didn't but dude certainly did, and he likely knew he was a person of interest.

2. "When sworn officers catch a fare evader, they demand ID and run warrant checks."

Keep in mind dude knew he was a person of interest, and 99% likely a felon with a gun.

3. "So the man sees the cops and runs. Pretty predictable behavior for someone who has had bad experiences with the authorities."

And a person of interest and a felon with a gun. Repellent rationalization from a morals shouter.

4. "My question: Why pursue? Why not just let him go? It was only $2. Not as if he robbed a bank."

Yes, why did he run and shoot at the cops over two dollars? That choice was entirely out of his hands?

So although the cops didn't know he was a person of interest, dude likely knew, so he sees cops doing what they are supposed to do (ridiculous cost/benefit arguments from an SF progressive aside), and runs, they do what they are supposed to do and give chase.

Knowing that this may well be his last day as a free range pimp he shoots at them. He ends up dead, suicide by cop.

If the cops let him go would the next cops who run across him be Mixoned?

---

Redmond's argument is essentially that

1. it's the fault of the chain of events

2. That although the cops didn't know he was wanted in some form, he should have been left alone to "Mixon" the next cops who's path he crosses.

Posted by matlock on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 5:55 pm

Talk about missing the point, Tim!

You say:

“The cops who fired at this guy had no idea whether he had a criminal record or not.”

The Medical Examiner has announced that the bullet that killed Kenneth Harding did not come from a gun used by police.

You say:

“The SFPD was looking for Muni fare evaders. Seems like an awful waste of money.”

Wrong again!

Experience in other big cities shows that when fare evaders are kept off public transportation, the crime rate in public transportation goes down significantly.

You say:

“If a fare inspector had been on duty without armed cops, this never would have happened.”

For all you know, Harding might have shot the inspector or other passengers.

Wouldn’t that have been nice?

You say:

“This is too much force and too much firepoer [sic] (and too much death) over too little ... a $2 Muni fare. That's the point here.”

The point here is that you got the whole story wrong. You’re even more incompetent than Steven T. Jones.

It’s time for a regime change at The Guardian.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jul. 22, 2011 @ 9:37 am

Yeah, so did the 13-year girl he made suck his dick and then attempted to force into sex work. Or the pregnant woman he may have killed. His victims had A LOT of "bad experiences" with him - just like he had "with the authorities."

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 11:06 am

You are missing the point - The guy was shot because he was shooting at police. not because he did not pay his fare. If he had nothing to hide why not pay the $2 & be done with it. With this guy's record (just recently killing a pregnant 19-yr old woman in Seattle & prostituting a 14-yr old girl) SFPD did the taxpayers' a favor by shooting Harding.

As for attacks against the poor & people of color, they get attacked by the people in their community. Or if the police stop them, it is usually because they are committing or have committed a crime.

As for not paying your $2, Tiny; what's your lame excuse? For $30 you can get a discounted Clipper card. Also, you have a kid. Great way to teach him that it's ok to break the law. Also, when people don't pay their fare it causes the price to go up which is not fair to law abiding citizens who foot the increase.

Frankly it is an excellent idea to have SFPD on the BART/MUNI stations & stops, especially the 14 & 49 Mission, as well as the bus stop @ 7th/Market St. These lines are probably the most crime infested ones in the system.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 11:17 am

Shooting someone over a $2 fare? I hardly think so. He as shot because he was endangering the lives of the officers as well as the residents of the Bayview(Hunters Point). There are rules to our society that have been determined by our democracy. There are checks and balances to these rules; Law enforcement.

If you don't have fare to ride Muni or BART you should not use them. Ride a bicycle, walk, skateboard or whatever. Try getting on American Airlines without a ticket and see how far you get. "Oh but air marshal, I need to get to Cleveland. I have a wedding to attend!"

Posted by Guest on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 11:24 am

I think the problem is misinterpretation, wording and understanding. She was recalling an experience that took place and the treatment she suffered while with her son for "not having her transfer."

Aside from that separate issue, as much as we despise po-lice culture, nobody can really argue with reality. We definitely don't support anyone that is hellbent on hurting other people, especially a kid.

We also know that if you pull a weapon OR EVEN LOOK like you're going to shoot a police officer, it's all over. Another reality is that this is ALL S.F.P.D.'s fault for lying SO many times when it comes to "officer-involved shootings" they tend to of course, cover things up rather than own up to their mistakes.

Unfortunately, this is their karma. Now they get to see what it's like to not have people believe you......even when you're honest about things.

THAT is why tension never dies with communities and cops.
Speaking of community, I noticed that they did NOT have members of the Bayview Community on the frontline at last night's protest, as opposed to people from out of town, since they're often subject to police misonduct and violence. Smells to me like outside agitation for political ambition.

Speaking from experience as a police brutality survivor and an activist of community consciousness, people.

Posted by Guest Marlon Crump on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

we are going way overboard with mere speculations.

Until an INDEPENDENT entity conduct a forensic report, INPEPENDENT gun powder residue report, & DNA evidence report, right now it's all blinding Smoke, blurry Mirrors, and Law Enforcement Weapons of Mass Deception
For the record, Kenneth was a minor himself when he started dating the girl he allegedly raped, my heart does go to the family of both the dead pregnant teen killed on Wednesday , and to the family of Kenneth as well BTW.
The Seatlle Chief of Police, is a communique 2 days ago, reiterated that Hardin was a PERSON OF INTEREST in the Wed. murder case. and that he did not have sufficient info & evidence to link Harding to the murder.

Let us remember that this 2 officers involved homicide on 3rd and Oakdale last Saturday occured only 3 months short of our mayoral, DA and Sheriff elections, and officials are restless. How do I know ? I was at yesterday's private meeting at City Hall, #201 at 2:30 pm, invited as part of "25 community key stakeholders", facilitated by Paul Henderson, to "get the facts" from Director of Golden Gate Division (5 precincts iincluding Bayview), African American Commander Mikail Ali, and I am a city Commissioner, since Sept 08, on MOOC (Marajuana Offenses Overview Committee)

Yesterday's civil unrest danages the law enforcement accountability movement, and possibly dfangerous to bystanders. However, let's keep in mind that last night events were not pre-planned by the core team that spearheaded the Rally, March and Protest (I checked with them last night). Since 2001, we have seen alleged "black anarchists" at anto war protests running away from our own security teams when we merely ask they removed the black bandanas covering their face for a second. During civil arrests, they get processed to a different paddywaggon than ours, and we do not see them in cistody with us.
At last Justice4Charles Hill protest at Civic center Bart , when it was all over, and I have a witness, I was the last person to get back to street level from the BART platform, all protesters had moved on top march towards Powell street, and I saw a youngish (from his physical appearance) man, his face still covered with a bandana, cordially chatting with a cop on Fox Plaza.
I am the mother of Idriss Stelley who was shot and killed by SFPD on 6-12-01, story covered by Matt Smith in SFBG, 48 shots, 9 cops, while my only, Black child was alione in an emptied movie theater, no firearm at hand, experiencing a mental health crisis.

This whole drama momentum about the killing if Kenneth Hardng has to stop. It is further endangering civilian and law enforcement lives. Inflamatory statements on both sides, as far as I am concerned, are prenature & Irresponsible

One blazing fact remains, would Harding have been white, he could be in detention and awaitibg trial right now. SFis NOT the plantation, were a Bl;ack Youth is laft to die choking on his blood, with no CPR or applying pressure to his wounds (until in this case, probably comatose or already dead when one cop approaches him and order him to "show his hands" once he is no longer moving.

my organizations, Education Not Incaceration, and Idriss Stelley Foundation (who showed in support at Dolores Park last eve, but are not part of the core team who planned the event) have, in our last Monday Press Conference on 3rd and Oakdale where the Youth was killed, outlined our demands :

* Independent FBI Investigation
* Release of the names of the 2 officers invilved in the Homicide
* Release to Police, Coroner, and forensic report
* Creation of a SF Civilian Review Board (OCC declares 97% of Citizens Complaints non-sustained every fiscal year since 2008, and the Police commission has a huge backload of still not revoiewed police misconduct cases)

Posted by Idriss Stelley Foundation on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

we are going way overboard with mere speculations.

Until an INDEPENDENT entity conduct a forensic report, INPEPENDENT gun powder residue report, & DNA evidence report, right now it's all blinding Smoke, blurry Mirrors, and Law Enforcement Weapons of Mass Deception
For the record, Kenneth was a minor himself when he started dating the girl he allegedly raped, my heart does go to the family of both the dead pregnant teen killed on Wednesday , and to the family of Kenneth as well BTW.
The Seatlle Chief of Police, is a communique 2 days ago, reiterated that Hardin was a PERSON OF INTEREST in the Wed. murder case. and that he did not have sufficient info & evidence to link Harding to the murder.

Let us remember that this 2 officers involved homicide on 3rd and Oakdale last Saturday occured only 3 months short of our mayoral, DA and Sheriff elections, and officials are restless. How do I know ? I was at yesterday's private meeting at City Hall, #201 at 2:30 pm, invited as part of "25 community key stakeholders", facilitated by Paul Henderson, to "get the facts" from Director of Golden Gate Division (5 precincts iincluding Bayview), African American Commander Mikail Ali, and I am a city Commissioner, since Sept 08, on MOOC (Marajuana Offenses Overview Committee)

Yesterday's civil unrest danages the law enforcement accountability movement, and possibly dfangerous to bystanders. However, let's keep in mind that last night events were not pre-planned by the core team that spearheaded the Rally, March and Protest (I checked with them last night). Since 2001, we have seen alleged "black anarchists" at anto war protests running away from our own security teams when we merely ask they removed the black bandanas covering their face for a second. During civil arrests, they get processed to a different paddywaggon than ours, and we do not see them in cistody with us.
At last Justice4Charles Hill protest at Civic center Bart , when it was all over, and I have a witness, I was the last person to get back to street level from the BART platform, all protesters had moved on top march towards Powell street, and I saw a youngish (from his physical appearance) man, his face still covered with a bandana, cordially chatting with a cop on Fox Plaza.
I am the mother of Idriss Stelley who was shot and killed by SFPD on 6-12-01, story covered by Matt Smith in SFBG, 48 shots, 9 cops, while my only, Black child was alione in an emptied movie theater, no firearm at hand, experiencing a mental health crisis.

This whole drama momentum about the killing if Kenneth Hardng has to stop. It is further endangering civilian and law enforcement lives. Inflamatory statements on both sides, as far as I am concerned, are prenature & Irresponsible

One blazing fact remains, would Harding have been white, he could be in detention and awaitibg trial right now. SFis NOT the plantation, were a Bl;ack Youth is laft to die choking on his blood, with no CPR or applying pressure to his wounds (until in this case, probably comatose or already dead when one cop approaches him and order him to "show his hands" once he is no longer moving.

my organizations, Education Not Incaceration, and Idriss Stelley Foundation (who showed in support at Dolores Park last eve, but are not part of the core team who planned the event) have, in our last Monday Press Conference on 3rd and Oakdale where the Youth was killed, outlined our demands :

* Independent FBI Investigation
* Release of the names of the 2 officers invilved in the Homicide
* Release to Police, Coroner, and forensic report
* Creation of a SF Civilian Review Board (OCC declares 97% of Citizens Complaints non-sustained every fiscal year since 2008, and the Police commission has a huge backload of still not revoiewed police misconduct cases)

Posted by Idriss Stelley Foundation on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

Was this really about $2.00?
I believe this is really about a
legal organization called The
Police Department not having
proper training, or their training
needs to be updated because
it is outdated. Or there are other
issues with this organization.
It is society as a whole?
The police force is paid by
citizens taxes, and they are
supposed to be working for us
not against us.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

Love your post though

"The police force is paid by
citizens taxes, and they are
supposed to be working for us
not against us. "

we need to clarify something though, who is "us."

Posted by matlock on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

Was this really about $2.00?
I believe this is really about a
legal organization called The
Police Department not having
proper training, or their training
needs to be updated because
it is outdated. Or there are other
issues with this organization.
It is society as a whole?
The police force is paid by
citizens taxes, and they are
supposed to be working for us
not against us.

Posted by Guest C. H. on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 4:00 pm

Even as "opinion," how could this appear in a responsible publication:

"But before we get caught up in whether he had a gun or not, let's stay with the real point: this young man was shot for not having a transfer. He was shot for not having $2."

Let's not get "caught up" in whether this man shot at police or not, "he was shot for not having $2."

The mind reels.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 20, 2011 @ 9:13 pm

A good, well written article. Some of the responses against Lisa, however are both vulgar, and racist. I am appalled at lack of respect for the author’s opinion and overt personal attacks that have no place in an informed debate. Anonymously attacking an author who put herself out there is very cowardly.
That said, I am not arguing for either side or another, however, I would like to point out some things that I noticed. We do not know if the young man had a gun, the video evidence is inconclusive. Maybe he shot at the police, maybe there was no weapon. Police lie too. What we do see in the video caught on the cell phone camera immediately after the young man was shot, is the apathy that the police have towards the gun shot victim. As he lay dying, choking in his blood, his limbs twitching, reaching out for help, why did the police not give him CPR? They were watching him die and chose not to give him assistance. The reason I say “watching” was because one cop had his gun pointed at the young man, and the rest were looking. Cops are allowed and encouraged to give CPR and are legally protected by the “good Samaritan law” should the recipient die or get more injured during the act of CPR. So there was nothing stopping the police from giving the young man aid. They could have applied pressure to his wounds, given him some form or resuscitation, done something, anything. Also, I see some officers face away from the young man and turn towards the crowd, if he was armed, then they would be only focusing on him and trying to disarm him immediately. The fact that only at the end, as if on a whim, an officer approaches him and asks if he is armed, means that they did not see him as a threat. In all the videos of police arrests that I have watched, and I have seen a lot, never did I see cops standing around the subject at a distance, like hunters standing around some trophy animal.

If you haven’t seen the video, watch it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfBSSCIy-mY

I believe that arguing that cops are either all good or bad is false, they are both. There are good cops who protect and serve and then there are those that abuse their power and open fire without a need to do so. There are a great deal of police who treat people of color much worse than white persons. If you are white, you do not have an experience of being a black man and being confronted by an officer, so do pretend that you “inherently know” that cops treat everyone equally. Generalizing police and saying that they all “there for your protection, and risk their lives etc.” is the same kind of logic methodology that once argued that all Catholic Priests are free of sin and are beyond reproach.

Posted by Guest 1984 on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 1:28 am

The issue exposed here is that when cops, or anyone granted authority without accountability, are given free reign, even otherwise good people who wake up on the wrong side of the bed have cover to abuse their authority with impunity.

Posted by marcos on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 6:56 am

That cops are trained to keep their guns on a person rolling around if they have not accounted for the gun. Dude could have easily rolled around atop his gun rolled over and started shooting as he drifted off to his eternal reward.

And of course, not agreeing with the magical thinking of our liberals is "racist".

Posted by Guest on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 7:43 am

I'm African American I abhor when people of color want to pull the race card. The fact that guy even ran for not having $2.00 is absurd. He knew that less than 5 days prior to this, he had done something wrong.

If this gentleman was armed and firing (in a public are), would it have been ok for him to hit an innocent civilian? Then people would be claiming that the police didn't do their jobs and let an innocent by stander get hurt or killed.

How do they find gun powder residue on your hands if you hadn't fired a gun? Stop being ignorant. People have been against the police since the murder of Oscar Grant, which I admit was suspicious. If this guy, in theory, ran because of a $2.00 fare, and owed a drug dealer and got murdered behind that, would it still have been publicized?

Black on black crimes happen everyday in this community but no one comes forth with information (even witnesses who saw the crime firsthand), but low and behold, everyone in this case wants to come forward.

When a known murderer or drug dealer goes to court, no one wants to testify! Don't make differences! That's a double standard.

Even with the cold, hard facts given of his priors, this man is a victim??? He did actually serve time in jail AND pleaded guilty. But most will say that he did not have a choice.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 9:46 am

SFBG is officially the Glenn Beck of the left.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

people who love their community and will say any truth that needs to come out. As a people we cannot let False conspiracy theories creators like Glenn Beck rule all medias. Anything he says is a delusional opinion to support his sponsors. This paper in the other hand lets all opinions to be heard. Not just the left.

Shows how much you don't know about SFBG.

Posted by Guest Carina on Jul. 23, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

Did he have a gun? Did they actually find gun residue on his hands? There has not been an independent investigation, yet most of the people are defending the police and saying that the young man is guilty? There is no evidence, at all, so far that the young man has not done anything wrong other then run from the police. If this was white male/female in formal attire bleeding to death on the video, the reactions of the respondents would be much different. This would be a national outrage.

Since the majority of the commentators are already accusing this young man of having a gun (with only speculation to support their claim) I think that the majority of this panel is inherently racist.

Since this is a black, young male, you seem to automatically presume that he has done something wrong. What happened to being innocent until proven guilty. This is not a "race card." This is called a statistic.

By the way, as a white male, I abhor when people say that mentioning disproportionate police discrimination against blacks/latinos is using a "race card." I am white, and I know what I get better treatment by the police. If you are white then you do as well. If you don't know, then you probably never had a run in with the police, hows that for a privilege. They might ticket you, bust you for drugs, or put you in the drunk tank same as everyone else, but chances are you are not afraid that they will pull a gun on you, or shoot you if you run. Maybe people who negatively comment on this article, need to go out and spend some time in a community non-whites, maybe listen to their opinions, who knows, perhaps even realize that black males are human beings too. Black men who wear baggy clothes are not automatically guilty or carry guns.

You seem to be defending the police with great fervor, why? They are given a much broader freedom to act then we do. They are not above error. They have been known to lie, they have been known to cover up their own crimes. They can fire weapons at will an then have the luxury of justifying their actions to their peers. If anything there needs to be greater accountability for the police because they carry weapons and can impose their will with those weapons. I am not arguing against having the police, I am not disrespecting the men and women who lay their lives out to protect our community. I am however, proposing that individuals who put on an "official" uniform, and carry a gun, be held accountable for murdering innocents. There is a difference.

Posted by Guest 1984 on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 12:19 pm

I'm going to give the author the benefit of the doubt that all the facts weren't available when this went to press. Because in light of the what has come out this sentence:
"Shot and killed for not having $2 bus fare."

. . . is not only outrageous but inexcusably uninformed. There's video evidence of a gun on the sidewalk. There is evidence on the victim's hand of having fired a gun. And then there's this fool's misdeeds in Seattle. Hardly an innocent, broke teenager. Tiny should write a follow-up to this piece if she wishes to salvage her credibility.

And this whole, "Nuh-uh, cops are liars!" argument I'm reading here is just foolishness.

Posted by Rob G in SF on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 1:11 pm

From Chief Suhr's comments at the Bayview forum, it appears the police saw the young man run away and were "in pursuit" when he allegedly fired shots. What would have happened if the cops had said: As far as we know (true) the only crime this man has committed (other than being young, male and black) is to cheat Muni out of $2. Not worth a chase and potential problems. Let him go.

The guy wouldn't be dead.

If the cops had been told to Be On The Alert for someone matching his description who was wanted for a crime in another state, that would be a different story. In this case, they confronted him for fare evasion (not even a crime, just an infraction) and wound up shooting him dead.

Legally, the cops may be on solid ground -- if the evidence shows that the man fired on them, then they have the right to fire back. But the whole situation seems tragically avoidable -- and indicates to me a lack of judgment, a lack of understanding of the distrust the community has for the cops (particularly these days) and the need to be very, very cautious in using lethal force.

Posted by tim on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

will be bitching and moaning.

What makes you and the rest of "the no wrong answer no matter the changing circumstances" people is that the most important person who knew that dead dude was a felon, it wasn't the cops, it was dead dude.

Dead dude knew that he was wanted, he's not dead because of a chain of events related to the cops, he's dead because of the chain of events around being a piece of shit.

Posted by matlock on Jul. 22, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

The lack of judgement was by the dead dude. If he had just run, he would still be alive, whether captured or if he escaped. But by firing at the police, one is certainly going to receive return fire. That is why it is called 'suicide by cop'.

Is it really a lack of understanding of the distrust the community has, or maybe better stated the 'dislike' the community has, because members of that community are often doing stupid stuff and getting caught.

Also good knowledge in one of your other replies about Amory Lovins chainsaw to cut butter quote. Except your use was poor. Amory is about using the right to for the right job. Gun vs. gun. It was not like they dropped a nuclear bomb on the guy.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

For the people who is trying to praise this man: Do your research before you decide to speculate, you ignorant idiots.

This guy everyone is protesting about is the person of interest who shot 4 people & killed a 19 year old pregnant woman in Washington a week ago. He recently was paroled from jail for pimping out little 14 year old girls. Do you really want someone out on the streets like him who could possibly be pimping out your little sister? The media is trying to portray him as innocent but he is by far from innocent. Gun powder residue was found on his hands on the autopsy report & not only that - the same video footage that is trying to portray the suspect as a victim on WSHH shows another man in a grey sweater picking up the suspect's gun & running off with it. Now, don't you feel stupid? CRUNCH!

While San Francisco waste their time protesting a man's death, us in Seattle will be celebrating justice served for lives that was lost.

RIP Tanaya Gilbert & your unborn child.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 3:39 pm

No, for real.

I realize it's hard for you to resist a "controversy" that really lends itself to your predetermined narrative, but do you guys have *any* self control what so ever? Because now more than ever, a strategy of waiting to get the full story would have really helped out. As more and more information comes out, the harder you guys poop the bed.

- 19 year old black man shot by police ("ooohh!! Let's run with it! NO justice no peace! Sarah loves black people - WE love black people!") >
- Suspect was evading police after fair inspection >
- Suspect turns out to be a repeat felon not from anywhere near Bayview, but Seattle >
- Suspect has served 22 months for pimping out a 14 year old girl >
- Following this sentence, suspect then committed armed robbery while on house arrest >
- It's revealed that suspect is the prime suspect in the murder of a pregnant woman and her unborn child just one week ago >
- Reports surface that suspect was brandishing a firearm, and shot at police first >
- Suspect's hand gun is found (on tape too!) at scene of crime >
- Gun shot residue found on suspects hand >
- Reports surface that the fatal bullet came from the *suspect's own gun*...

WOW. It's LOLefest. A real LOLLercoaster here... I'm on LOLlerskates with you guys. Talk about a total fail. Awesome.

Posted by Longtime-Lurker on Jul. 22, 2011 @ 10:13 am

I just wanted to acknowledge the Bay Guardian, and Tiny ( aka Lisa Gray-Garcia ) in particular, for coming out in support of the true victim in this tragic affair. It's a bold stance and one that should not go unheralded. The murder of this upstanding pimp by the racist police force was undoubtably the the last little push the editors at the Guardian needed to in order for them to say, "enough is enough". I seem to recall at least some of the Guardian's distinguished journalists writing about their children on this board in the past. And Tiny makes a special point to mention her child in the article above. I can only imagine the apprehension they must be feeling right now. If the thugs at the SFPD continue to murder pimps, it is very likely that, in the near future, the children of San Francisco will have to go entirely without pimps altogether! Can you imagine? A whole generation of children pimpless? Is this the future we want for our kids? I know some of you Republicans are thinking, "what's the big deal? Anyone can be a pimp. How hard could it be?" Well let me tell you, my ignorant and racist friends,

PIMPIN' AIN'T EASY.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 22, 2011 @ 11:43 am

So now the cops say the wound was self-inflicted (but the SF Medical Examiner's Office is actually not saying that -- we'll have a new blog post on this in an hour or so.) But since we're talking about whether the cops should have fired on a fleeing suspect (who may not have shot at the cops at all -- he may only have shot himself), let me quote from a textbook on police use of force:

In Modern Police Firearms, a textbook on law-enforcement procedures, Professor Allen P. Bristow of California State University, Los Angeles, writes that deadly force should be used to stop a fleeing felon only when "he cannot be contained or captured" through other means. Further, Bristow notes, an officer considering deadly force should ask the following question:

"Is the crime this suspect is committing, or are the consequences of his possible escape, serious enough to justify my taking his life or endangering the lives of bystanders?"

Posted by tim on Jul. 22, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

the cops then, even if they thought they could catch up with him, there was an obvious and real danger that he would have resisted with deadly force himself.

Nor was letting him get away an option here, given that he was clearly an immediate danger to the community.

The police action was entirely reasonable, even if it hadn't turned out later that the thug was about the vilest lowlife ever.

Tim, if you want to jump on the cops, why not wait until you have a sympathetic victim?

Posted by Walter on Jul. 22, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

"Tim, if you want to jump on the cops, why not wait until you have a sympathetic victim? "

Could they have picked a sh*ttier example for this?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 22, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

I'm not sure if your last paragraph is supposed to be thought provoking or something, but it's not.. considering the obvious answer is *yes*. A guy shooting randomly at cops (and probably anyone else the vicinty) over his shoulder is a serious situation.

How many "may or may not", "might have", "so the cops now say..." comments can you fit into three paragraphs? Stop trying to interject doubt into a situation becuase the reality no longer suits your crappy story.

Posted by Longtime-Lurker on Jul. 22, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

if not the cops?

He's running away and a gun goes off, the and the report comes from the guy, who would he be shooting at if not the cops?

Posted by matlock on Jul. 22, 2011 @ 1:29 pm

for fare evasion which, in any event, he would never have paid.

He was running because he was wanted for horrendous crimes that he was unwilling to be held accountible for. He preferred a certain death to what he knew would be a long prison sentence.

Seems to me that everyone wins as a result of his own suicideal actions. Tim, find a cause worth fighting for instead of undermining those who protect us.

Posted by Walter on Jul. 22, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

Tim,

Your reaction to this affair was a rush to score ideological points before all the facts were in. You're a professional journalist. You should know better.

This behavior characterizes The Guardian in general. The overriding goal is to score ideological points. It is not to provide an accurate, inclusive coverage of facts. To the contrary, the facts are often seen as an impediment.

You can't build a successful political movement on fantasies. At some point, you have to connect with reality.

Try it sometime.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jul. 22, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

Honestly, it sounds like this young gentlemen was likely to inflict a lot of terror and violence on his fellow human beings, most likely the ones from within his own community. He was a bad dog, and sometimes you just have to put a bad dog down. I'm glad that he's dead -- the world is better off.

Posted by Utilitarian Dude on Jul. 22, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

Tim, this will be the one that follows you to the grave if you're not careful. Wouldn't you rather that this not be the story that people remember you for. You've embarrassed yourself often in the pages of the Guardian and here on this board, but your earnestness and naiveté were usually just charming enough to allow readers to give you a pass, despite your wrongheaded thinking. Not this time though.

Listen to your friends and listen to your detractors. I'm betting they're both telling you the same thing. Drop it. There are plenty of legitimate injustices being perpetrated upon minorities and people of color every day. Choose one of these to champion. You are defending a violent and dangerous sociopath who was convicted of a truly horrible crime against a child. Someone who thought nothing of endangering innocent people when faced with the prospect of being held accountable for his deeds. The man got exactly what he had coming.

Make a brief apology and go back to what you do well - presenting the news with a interesting progressive slant. That's good advice, Tim.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 22, 2011 @ 3:39 pm
Tim

I never met you, but we both know that something about this is wrong. And these people that are discrediting you through these messages are trying to scare you from finding the truth about this police victim. Thats what they do, they can't beat you with words (intellect & facts) so they attack your person. Good Job for making this a big deal. WE NEED truthful stories and topics that will expose the hate and lies in our society and the lack of justice. While some rich people get away with mass murder, rape, torture, lobbying, corruption and theft, the poor people are the ones put in jail for sometimes petty-suspected crimes. They will try to keep us all down, in the jails and with out a home. We must all grow and rise together, including police they need to train themselves to deal with disabled people, to not shoot at some one who didn't have 2$, who buy the way did not kill a pregnant woman, they thought she was but her aunt confirmed she wasn't. Yes the info will be revealed. I think above all, you must trust your instincts not those people working to kill everything that isn't white or rich. Thank you.

Posted by Guest Carina on Jul. 23, 2011 @ 1:54 pm

Lisa Gray-Garcia, I am a liberal and read the Guardian regularly. I must say that your article was incredibly offensive and just plainly, wrong.

You wrote the parolee was "Shot and killed for not having $2 bus fare." This generalization is way off base, I won't go over all the reasons it is because they have already been stated in the above comments.

I do believe you owe your readers an apology.

How would you like police to deal with convicted parolees that pimp 14 year olds?

You and the anarchists/protesters that destroyed city property over this matter give SF liberals a bad name.

I hope the Guardian editors make better choices of who they give columns to.

This newspaper is moving closer and closer to Murdoch's now defunct News of the World paper.

Lisa Gray-Garcia I hope you apologize, but for some reason I don't think you will.

Posted by Alex on Jul. 23, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

First of all i want to say thank-you all for reading the piece and thinking through it- even if so many of you are filled with so much hate and vitriol.

2nd) i began the piece as i ended it- with my OWN experience- a person who was dealt with by the police over a transfer on a bus in a poor people of color community. I, like several of my co-workers at POOR Magazine (all young men of color) have faced police harassment on MUNI for the sole act of being on the buses in those communities. I say that because i have rode buses in the Sunset and the Richmond and there were just as many people on those bus lines who didnt pay their fares and yet these buses were NEVER boarded by police and the rider were never harassed by police for the sole act of alleged fare invasion.

Transit racism is alive and well- and anyone who doesn't see it is in denial. That was my main point in the piece and all the media scatter that has come out about Kenneth Harding either shooting himself or shooting the police - about his character and past has nothing to do with the point that there is specific targeting by police of buses in the Bay view and the Mission that are a time bomb and could blow at any time.

In 2005 I wrote a piece for sfbg called Bus Fare Blues- where i spoke about the correlation of the rise in MUNI bus fares leading to increased criminalization of riders, in specific young riders of color.

In the end, this is a VERY complicated issue and I hope that this horrible tragedy leads to a policy change. That we can all see through this moment to see the possible things we can do to implement systemic change so racist and classist police culture doesn't continue to dictate every part of our lives

Posted by tiny on Jul. 23, 2011 @ 10:38 pm

A simple "I was wrong" would have sufficed.

Your article was garbage, and did far more damage to your message than you know. You ignored the facts - the blaring facts - because the sensational aspects of the story were simply too good to pass up.

Posted by Sambo on Jul. 23, 2011 @ 11:51 pm

Tiny, you say:

“so many of you are filled with so much hate and vitriol.”

That’s right. Anybody who disagrees with any of your dogmas is filled with hate and vitriol.

Why else would they disagree with you, right? It all makes perfect sense, right?

You say:

“i began the piece as i ended it- with my OWN experience”

You’re certainly entitled to relate your own experiences. But when you go beyond that, making claims of a general nature, you need evidence and logic.

You say:

“I, like several of my co-workers at POOR Magazine (all young men of color) have faced police harassment on MUNI for the sole act of being on the buses in those communities.”

That’s your side of the story. There may be other sides as well. All sides should be heard before drawing general conclusions

You say:

“Transit racism is alive and well- and anyone who doesn't see it is in denial.”

Reducing fare evasion on public transpiration reduces crime. I see rampant fare evasion all the time on Muni. And I see many of the evaders causing problems for other riders or trashing buses. It’s a real phenomenon. It’s not imaginary.

You say:

“all the media scatter that has come out about Kenneth Harding either shooting himself or shooting the police - about his character”

You don’t see a problem with allowing violent males with guns on Muni?

You say:

“I hope that this horrible tragedy leads to a policy change.”

Which policies would you change?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jul. 24, 2011 @ 9:20 am

I've been riding BART for years and see fare evaders daily at Civic Center. Is it racist to point out that 90% of them are young African American males?

Posted by Scott on Jul. 25, 2011 @ 2:54 pm

Also from this author

  • The screams of dead children -- everywhere

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    A party without my friends

  • Gated communities of hate

    When did we start believing that only certain people deserve to be out in public?