Kenneth Harding: Mother of Teen Who Died Fleeing From Police Sues SFPD

Categories: Crime, Local News
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Kenneth Harding
The mother of 19-year-old Kenneth Harding, who was killed while fleeing from police last year, has filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that her son's civil rights were violated and that he didn't get proper medical care.

Harding was shot as he ran from San Francisco police last July after he was busted dodging his Muni fare. During the foot-chase through the Bayview, police say Harding shot himself in the neck as he tried to fire at the cops. He later died at San Francisco General Hospital from the gunshot wound. 

Now Harding's mother, Denika Chatman, has filed charges in the U.S District Court against the city of San Francisco, Police Chef Greg Suhr, and two other police officers involved in the shooting. According to the lawsuit, Chatman claims that the police "left him writhing in pain with blood gushing out of his neck."

Chatman's attorney, John Burris, spoke to the Chronicle on her behalf, saying "[Harding] was literally allowed to drown in his own blood." "He was killed needlessly," Burris said.

There is graphic-video footage of the incident on the Internet which shows Harding bleeding on the street, surrounded by police officers and witnesses. Although it's unclear when the camera started rolling, it takes paramedics minutes to arrive at the scene.

Harding, who had a violent criminal history, including a rape conviction, was also the suspect in the fatal shooting of a 19-year-old woman in Seattle that occurred just days before he died. At the time of his death, Harding was on parole for pimping a 14-year-old girl in Seattle. 

Despite his criminal history, supporters still rallied behind Harding, claiming his death was a clear case of police brutality. Earlier this month, protesters marked the first anniversary of his death by disrupting Muni lines.

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