Anger erupts over police shootings - Page 3

Two recent officer-involved shootings spark protests throughout San Francisco

Police Chief Greg Suhr (left) and Elvira Pollard, mother of another police shooting victim, speak at the July 20 meeting

By July 22, confusion was still swirling over why a gun hadn't immediately been recovered from the scene of the shooting, and there still wasn't any clarity on whether an online video of a passerby removing a silvery object from the sidewalk showed a person who retrieved Harding's firearm after the shooting, as police have claimed. Police recovered a gun that was initially believed to be Harding's, but later reported that the gun could not have been the same weapon that discharged a .380 caliber round into the victim's head.

Chris Jackson, a Bayview resident who sits on the board of City College of San Francisco and ran for District 10 supervisor in 2010, said after the City Hall meeting that he felt it had amounted to little more than a lecture from the city's top officials. Jackson said he perceived a need for a policy shift in terms of how to deal with fare evasion and violence prevention. "We need a better approach," he said. "We cannot address this with more cops on the T line."

After Harding's death, it came to light that the 19-year-old Washington state man had served time for attempting to promote prostitution, and had been named as a person of interest in connection with the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old Seattle woman. Yet a widely circulated online video showing him writhing on the sidewalk in a pool of blood after being shot, while a handful of officers continued to stand around with weapons drawn, sparked outrage. Once the forum at the Bayview Opera House had broken up, LaDonna Callaway condemned the police response, saying, "They didn't have to shoot him as many times as they did."

Angelique Mayhem, a Bayview resident who stood nearby, told the Guardian that she didn't think the meeting had solved anything. "A boy gets gunned down. We don't know if there was a gun there, but we do know that for 40 damn years, people have been getting gunned down in this community," Mayhem said. "People are angrier now than when they were when they walked in the door. We're a community that's truly in pain, that's truly frustrated, and really needs some respect."