The mother of Kenneth Harding, Jr. begged police Monday to release more information on her son’s July 16 fatal shooting while fleeing from officers in the Bayview, as her attorney said the official version of events keeps changing.
“I’m angry, and I’m hurt, and I want the truth, and I want justice to be done,” Denika Chatman, 38, said at a news conference in the offices of Oakland attorney John Burris.
Police said Harding, 19, of Seattle, fled after officers detained him near Third Street and Palou Avenue for evading a Muni fare, and fatally shot himself in the neck during a gun battle.
A parolee convicted of attempting to pimp a young girl in Washington state, Harding was also wanted for questioning in connection with a fatal shooting in South Seattle on July 13, according to police.
Yet questions surrounding his shooting remain unanswered. Some in the Bayview community have questioned whether Harding shot at police during the chase, and a gun purportedly belonging to him hasn’t been located.
Police have said a bystander, captured on amateur video at the shooting scene, appeared to pick it up, and that person has not been found.
“We know, based upon the Police Department’s shifting stories, conflicting statements, allegations and claims, and retractions, that the truth seems to be far from at hand,” said Adante Pointer, an attorney for the family.
Pointer declined to address what specific police information he and the family were challenging, but he did cast doubt on the claim that Harding shot himself.
“I don’t put much credence in that, at this point in time,” Pointer said.
Pointer said at least five eyewitnesses to Harding’s shooting had already come forward to his office with accounts that differed from those of the police.
Still, he would not rule out that the shooting could have been justified.
“At this stage, we’re on a mission for the truth,” Pointer said.
Chatman said her son, an aspiring rapper, had planned to go to college in the fall, and was in the Bay Area visiting family and friends and attempting to get a record deal.
“He was very loving, caring, giving,” she said. “He loved his family, and he loved his mother.”