The family of a Black man who was killed by police this week in Massachusetts has more questions than answers after few details were being disclosed in the wake of the shooting that is only being attributed to an unspecified “altercation.”
The media narrative surrounding the police shooting death of 30-year-old Anthony Harden has overwhelmingly relied on reports from the Fall River Police Department following the shooting Monday night in an apartment where officers said they were responding to allegations of domestic violence that were not even from the day in question.
But aside from police insisting that there was a knife present and that an “altercation” ensued, it is unclear exactly what prompted cops to not only draw at least one service weapon but also fire it.
Was Harden armed? Did he attack them? Neither of those questions was addressed, let alone answered by the Fall River Police Department nor Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn, who only said Tuesday — according to local news outlet WCVB — that two officers were involved in a “struggle” after making contact with Harden in the first floor apartment where the reported altercation took place. Quinn said a woman called the police Monday night to report the alleged domestic violence that she said took place over the weekend, according to reports.
Harden’s uncle is among the family members demanding answers.
“Why is he dead?” Don Mack asked during an interview with TV station WJAR. “I believe Fall River police should be trained better to handle a situation of domestic — there is no way my nephew should be dead tonight from a gunshot wound.”
Questioning law enforcement training for “these situatons,” Mack added: “He was no gang-banger, he was no threat to the police or law enforcement, so there’s no reason why he should not be alive tonight.”
Antone Harden told WPRI that his twin brother was “he was wrongfully attacked or murdered in our home.” Antone Harden said he was in the next room when the shooting took place.
Anthony Harden’s older brother Carl was having trouble procesing the allegations that a knife was present.
“He did not own a weapon, he did not own a gun,” Carl Harden said. “There was no reason for that many officers to show up for a domestic disturbance that occurred two days prior.”
The Fall River Police Department does not have body cameras for its offers.
Anthony Harden was on home confinement stemming from a 2019 arrest on assault and battery, rape, and child endangerment charges, WJAR reported, citing police documents. That case reportedly involved a pocketknife and “a small gold sword.” Police claim there are documented photos suggesting he strangled a woman allegedly “over the amount of Facebook friends she had.”
Despite the abundance of details from that arrest, there was decidedly fewer information being made public from Monday night’s shooting.
Fall River is located about an hour south of Boston and is considered a suburb of Providence, Rhode Island, which is 18 miles away.