Justice for Anthony Harden & Larry Ruiz Barretto
Who was Anthony Harden?
Anthony Harden was a younger man, 30 years of age, who was a father, brother, son, and friend to many folks. He was shot and killed by Fall River Police Officer Chelsea Campellone on November 22, 2021, in his bedroom during an investigation of an incident that allegedly occurred 2 days earlier. Police entered his home and, in less than 2 minutes, Anthony was shot dead.
This senseless tragedy was made even worse by the fact that Anthony's reputation was unnecessarily smeared by Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn. The family and community are outraged, and the criminal justice system protects the police. When under pressure, the police investigate themselves, and the killing is declared a justifiable homicide. Families of the victims are then forced to go through years of litigation where they usually don’t get justice.
On November 22, 2021, police entered Anthony's home and, upon entering his apartment, they found Anthony sitting in his bedroom at the foot of the bed holding his cell phone. At the time, his twin brother Antone was across the hallway from the apartment. Anthony explained that he wanted to show the police something on the cell phone. Within seconds he was told: “stop resisting” and was shot twice, then handcuffed. He cried out: “I can’t breathe.” before the paramedics asked for him to be released from the cuffs in order to treat Anthony. The family immediately began seeking answers, but answers were very slow coming from the Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn.
One month after the incident, the DA’s office issued a report justifying Officer Chelsea Campellone's killing of Anthony, claiming Anthony had repeatedly tried to stab officer Michael Sullivan with a knife. However, none of the responding officers or first responders at the scene of the incident saw a knife near Anthony where he was shot! Officer Sullivan suffered no injuries. An officer, hours after the incident, claimed he picked up the knife for safety reasons and placed it behind the TV in the bedroom. The DA’s office has yet to release the name of the officer who did this! And to top it off, officer Sullivan is best friends with the DA’s son. Anthony’s family has yet to receive his cell phone. It has been over 6 months!
In another case, Larry Ruiz-Barreto, a 19 year-old from New Bedford, MA, was shot 5 times by Fall River Police Officer Nicholas Hoar while sitting in a car with his father on November, 12, 2017. No justice has been done in this murder case as well. A federal lawsuit has been filed by Larry’s family. The lawsuit filed in US District Court in Boston alleges a police cover up.
Today the families & friends of Anthony Harden & Larry Ruiz Barretto gathered together with supporters & community members of Fall River for a rally by the courthouse, Fall River Justice Center, to share their stories & experiences of their loved one being murdered by the police. Members of Boston May Day Coalition, of which I am a member of and often on organizing committees with, also showed up for solidarity & support. The rally was followed by a march in the streets of downtown Fall River to Kennedy Park where the Juneteenth celebration was happening.
The families of Anthony Harden & Larry Ruiz Barretto are demanding for, and rightfully so, full transparency & accountability from the Fall River Police Department and DA Thomas Quinn, who has been unchallenged for sixteen years. The community wants Quinn out of office, and for Shannon McMahon, a Swansea resident and private practice attorney to be elected as the next district attorney for Bristol County. The families deserve and seek JUSTICE!
The family says that DA Thomas Quinn manipulated facts in the investigations of Anthony Harden and Larry Ruiz-Barreto‘s deaths. They are also accusing Quinn of failing to disclose a conflict of interest, refusing to investigate a Fall River police officer who had been involved in criminal activity, and promoting and employing Karen O’Sullivan, who they say has a racist history. The Harden family has filed a lawsuit to have Quinn removed from his position as Bristol County District Attorney.
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