by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
A 19-year-old Seattle pimp who was selling the sexual services of a 13-year-old girl was gunned down by San Francisco police on July 16th. The death of Kenneth Harding has stirred up strife in the Bayview community despite his illegal involvement in prostitution — with an under-aged female at that. The San Francisco Examiner reports:
“Harding, a Seattle resident, was fatally shot by two cops in the Bayview district after he fired at them, according to San Francisco police. Harding had been detained for evading a Muni fare about 4:45 p.m. on the Muni platform near Third Street and Oakdale Avenue. The suspect tried to make a run for it, and opened fire ‘indiscriminately’ in the crowded Mendell Plaza, firing off multiple shots as the cops chased him, police said.”
Some members of the Bayview community think that Harding did not deserve to die because they believe he was not armed. The San Francisco Examiner reports “Witnesses to the shooting told police they saw a man pick up the suspect’s gun and run off with two other men, Police Chief Greg Suhr said. Informants led police to what is believed to be the suspect’s .45-caliber handgun, which is now being tested, Suhr said.” Community leaders are demanding that an FBI investigation takes place. An activist by the name of Mesha Irizarry states, “I don’t care if this kid was like the chainsaw massacre poster child. You don’t die like a rabid dog with nobody helping you.”
With all of this talk about the injustice dealt to Harding, it appears that some are overlooking the injustices that the unnamed under-aged female endured at the hands of this criminal. She called police after Harding left her stranded near Seattle Center because she refused to prostitute. According to a police report, Harding told her that “she was either going to make ‘ho’ money’ and get a ride back or he was going to leave her there.” Having turned 14 by this point, she told Harding that she is not a whore and refused.
At the age of 13, this young lady led police to Harding’s home in 2010 and shared with them that his home was the location where Harding forced her to perform oral sex with him on February 6, 2009. Police proceeded to arrest Harding on January 7, 2010.
Police also believe Harding could be at least in-part responsible for the death of Tanaya Harding in an incident that took place the week of July 10th. It was a fatal quadruple shooting that left this pregnant 19-year-old and her unborn child dead.
As Irizarry stated and as many would agree, it is not right to let a person “die like a rabid dog with nobody helping [them].” According to The San Francisco Examiner, “protesters accuse cops of doing nothing while the injured Harding lay dying in front of numerous witnesses.” That was not right in any way, form, or fashion. As people protest the injustices of Harding, however, it is important to not loose sight of the injustices that several others have endured because of this very man. They were harmed, too.
Ayvaunn Penn is a spoken word artist and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, click here.