Outrage at the Bayview Opera House (VIDEO)

Bayview resident Geoffrea Morris takes the microphone during an emotional meeeting at the Bayview Opera House.
Photo by Rebecca Bowe

A community meeting July 20 at the Bayview Opera House dissolved into chaotic shouting when Police Chief Greg Suhr attempted to present the San Francisco Police Department's version of what transpired July 16 when a 19-year-old African American man was shot nine times by police and killed just blocks from where the meeting was held.

"On Saturday afternoon, two officers at the Bayview station ... contacted a fare evader whose name ended up being Kenneth Wade Harding, Jr. of Seattle, Washington," Suhr began. "After asking him for his identification, he became a little bit anxious, and at one point in time he jumped off the platform and ran across the street, and ran through crowded Mendell Plaza. I cannot tell you how badly that I feel ... as captain of this station for two years. I love the Bayview community."

At that point, angry shouts rose up and Suhr started getting booed, but he continued. "During this foot pursuit, at some point in time, the suspect ... fired at the officers, and the officers returned fire. This is the account that we have so far."

Kilo Perry began shouting back at the chief, saying, "You are not a friend of ours. You are the enemy," before bystanders tried to calm him down. The SFPD had planned on showing a power point presentation about the incident, but that didn't happen. Instead, Suhr was drowned out, and the microphone was passed to various community representatives and members of the clergy, who'd helped organize the meeting, as they tried to regain control. Lifelong Bayview resident Charlie Walker asked people to sit down and relax.

Several hundred people had gathered at the Bayview Opera House to get answers about the shooting, and most remained seated as people continued to swarm around the police chief. After some time had passed, community leaders managed to set up a question-and-answer session with Suhr.

From this brief exchange and venting session, it became clear that people had come to the meeting with broader concerns than just what transpired Saturday. Elvira Pollard stood to recount how, seven years ago, her son had been shot by police 36 times, and that police had claimed that he'd shot first. She said it took more than nine months to get an autopsy report. "It's the same scenario!" she charged. "Do you really think they aren't going to lie about this one?" Suhr said that he couldn't comment on that case specifically since he didn't know the details, but offered to meet with her.

As people spoke, police violence against youth emerged as a theme. Harding was not a resident of the Bayview, and it came to light after his death that he had served time for attempting to promote prostitution and was a person of interest in connection with the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old woman. But to many who expressed outrage at the meeting, his death was linked to past instances in which youth had been gunned down by law enforcement. One woman showed up wearing a T-shirt, earrings, and a handbag displaying images of Oscar Grant, the 20-year-old unarmed Hayward man who was shot and killed by BART officer Johannes Mehserle on January 1, 2009.

A concern that was voiced again and again was that people felt the police routinely harrassed youth on the T-Third line. Grilled about why police were constantly stopping young people over MUNI transfers, Suhr responded that police had recovered weapons from T-line passengers while conducting fare inspections in the past.

The meeting broke apart when Suhr was escorted out, surrounded by uniformed officers, news cameras, and angry residents who continued to demand that he release the names of the officers who shot Harding. One simply yelled, "stop shooting black people in the back!" Once outside, with beads of sweat rolling down his face, Suhr told reporters, "I'll be back."

Here's a video of the tense exchanges that took place at the July 20 meeting. 

Video by Rebecca Bowe


vicious villain gets this level of sympathy while nobody offers any sympathy for his victims.

This crook brought his demise on himself, and that's really all there is to say, unless you have an agenda of course.

Posted by Walter on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 10:19 am

Bayview is run by gangs. Families are intimidated by these gangs.

"Unsolved murders be gwoin' on every day."

And why is that?

Gang intimidation is the reason.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 10:31 am

"Whah you aint solvin dese homocides?"

Because you are too intimidated by gang bullies to go to the police

Posted by Guest on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 10:32 am

The above comments speak for themselves

Posted by Greg on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 10:57 am

Sarah Phelan uses it all the time in her articles to show that she's down with "the blacks."

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 11:30 am

Is it your position that mocking people in this manner does not constitute racism?

Posted by Greg on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 11:41 am

I wasn't mocking anybody. I was quoting directly from the video.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 11:50 am

i agree with greg. you were mocking the way that people speak in order to strengthen the point you were making. it was not necessary, and frankly, very typical of people like you.

Posted by bayviewvisitor on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

Yes, it was very typical of your kind

Posted by Guest on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 2:47 pm

And they're impossible to disprove - which is why people like Greg, Marcos and especially - Eric Brooks - employ them when they have no valid counterargument. They simply claim their opponents are "racist" and then we go back to things as they were before.

This is analogous to the Guardian's overall strategy of claiming something is progressive and something isn't - when The Guardian supports it then it's progressive. When the Guardian doesn't support it then it's not progressive. A useless discussion designed to ensure absolutely nothing changes in San Francisco - which is the goal of regressive progressives like The Guardian anyway.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 12:47 pm


The camera is everything in these situations. The camera was the turning point in every case of this kind from Rodney King to Oscar Grant all the way to this last rapist/killer/fare evader last week. It keeps the cops honest but it also keeps the shit disturbers accountable.

The problem is poor parenting. It doesn't take a large percentage of poor parents/guardians to turn out enough gangster punks to ruin a neighborhood or a school or an entire community. Mentorship in exchange for free parking is the immediate answer.

Giants off today.


Posted by Guest h. brown on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 11:19 am

Sometimes you really are clueless, h. The problem is not parenting. The problem is systematic racism, income inequality, white privilege and paternalism. There's more than a little of that on display here.

Posted by Lisa on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 3:49 pm

You write like a sophomore overly inspired by your first reading of Shulamith Firestone's "The Dialectic of Sex."

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

Getting control over fare evaders results in more than saving Muni some bucks. It helps prevent the occurrence of crime.

Such has been the experience of other big cities. It's time for SF to catch up.

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 11:22 am

Make it free, and no one will be a criminal fare evader. That's been the experience of every other city that's tried it.

Posted by Greg on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 11:48 am

Yes, let's make everything free. Free food at supermarkets will solve the shoplifting problem forever.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 11:52 am

You'd blow a hole a mile wide in their budget by "just making it free." And it's difficult to see where the money would come from to fill that hole.

Your solutions are so childishly simplistic and completely ignore the complexity of issues like this. It's analogous to the right's answer to terrorism - "just bomb them."

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

At the very least, the city could provide subsidized bus tickets for low-income people and students. It would take just a small increase in taxes on wealthy individuals and businesses to make it work. Seattle has fare-free zones which are subsidized by a tiny increase in the sales tax (.03 percent). Normally, I don't support regressive taxes, but it just shows that it's workable. And I'd also like to see the Board of Supervisors pass a measure to restrict police presence on the buses, except when their presence is specifically requested by drivers, passengers, or members of the community.

Posted by Lisa on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 5:42 pm

Are you not aware there's a $30 a month unlimited pass for people on public assistance?

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 6:22 pm

Lisa your posts always give me chuckle. Do you even live in SF?

If you do live in the city, you might recall some members of the community being concerned about incidents like this?

"The case is similar to a Jan. 24 incident in which an 83-year-old man was kicked and punched on another T-Third Muni platform. The victim, Huan Chen, died two months later."

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/boy-15-admits-muni-attack#ixzz1SoJ3iKuC

Posted by matlock on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 9:56 pm

No matter what Tupac said.

Posted by Lucretia "Secretia" Snapples on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 11:29 am

Argh! Where's the rage when black men kill each other over drug deals, territory, prostitution. Where's the rage then? A police rids the city of a murderous thug (Grant wasn't a saint either), and they come out in droves with their ridiculous demands. What a way to say thanks. Yeah and keeping fare evaders at bay do keep muni passengers safe. How many times have we ridden along the 14, 49, 3 to see throngs of black kids entitle themselves to a free ride. Let's discuss it and call it how we see it! I'm fucking sick of this shit.

Posted by RSai on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

Where is the range?

It's all bottled up inside, by people living in the Bayview who are afraid to stand up to all the gang intimidation that controls the community

Posted by Guest on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 2:41 pm

incidents like these bring out the ugliest comments in people. sickening.

Posted by bayviewvisitor on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

A concern that was voiced again and again was that people felt the police routinely harrassed youth on the T-Third line. Grilled about why police were constantly stopping young people over MUNI transfers, Suhr responded that police had recovered weapons from T-line passengers while conducting fare inspections in the past.

Does this mean that police are checking for transfers and thats unfair? What does that have to do with shooting a gun off?

Posted by Guest on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 12:58 pm

Older asian folks were routinely being attacked by black thugs. SFPD stepped up it's security...because...well it does go through the Bayview. Black kids routinely evade the fare by entering through the back door. Fare evader shoots gun at an officer...the officers return fire. The evader turns out to be a murderous thug...with a gun on board. He's dead...you're alive. What's the problem?

Posted by RSai on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 2:47 pm

And why are they using deadly force in so many cases? Lately, there has been one after another of these cases, and it just never stops. What were these cops doing patrolling the buses for fare evaders in the first place? Is this what we pay them for? Did the people from the Bayview community request their presence? Do you think they feel safer when cops are shooting their kids? The Bayview community deserves answers. But the surge of scandals coming out of the SF police department suggest that it has a serious cop-credibility problem.

Posted by Lisa on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 4:51 pm


It took 40 years of working with severely emotionally disturbed young people to reach my conclusions. I worked with thousands who were conceived for an ADC check boost and got no attention, let alone love. It has nothing to do with race, they're all colors.

Most success I had was pairing students with mentors who hung out with them a couple of times a week and got them out of their deadly environment (sometimes for the first time ever). I concocted a plan early on to have the City trade free parking in exchange for a few hours a week mentoring from responsible adults.

And, I have a masters in Special Ed. and designed programs for my students for a long, long time. What exactly are your own credentials?

Giants off today.


Posted by Guest h. brown on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

The Medical Examiner has announced that the bullet that killed Kenneth Harding did not match the guns carried by police. Another bullet of the same kind was found in Harding's pocket -


Posted by Arthur Evans on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 5:45 pm

A suicide then?

That's the respectable way for the rapist to bow out.

Posted by Guest on Jul. 21, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

sound just like the "magic bullet theory"
how creative.

Posted by Guest Carina on Jul. 23, 2011 @ 2:28 pm

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