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DA Quinn keeps secret the name of officer who fatally shot Fall River man

Target 12

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III is refusing to disclose the name of the Fall River police officer who shot and killed a resident last month, even after he cleared the officer of any criminal wrongdoing.

Quinn released a review of the fatal shooting Wednesday, which outlined a series of events leading up to the death of Anthony Harden of Fall River. Quinn said two officers, a man and a woman, entered Anthony Harden’s apartment on Nov. 22 because of report of alleged domestic violence that happened a couple days earlier.

After a brief discussion, Quinn reported Harden attacked the male officer with a knife, and because the officer’s life was in danger, the female officer was justified in her decision to shoot and kill Harden.

Notably absent in the 11-page report, however, is any disclosure of the officers’ names — which is unusual for reviews by Massachusetts district attorneys that examine police officers who fatally shoot people.

Even Quinn has disclosed officers’ names in the past.

The Bristol County district attorney cleared Fall River police officer Nicholas Hoar of any criminal wrongdoing after he shot and killed Larry Ruiz-Barreto in 2018. The report included witness statements and photographs, and Hoar was named throughout.

Why Quinn didn’t name the officers in the Harden shooting remains unclear as his office is refusing to answer questions. In an email, Second Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Sowa did not respond to an inquiry regarding the review.

“We refer all inquiries back to the final report that was provided yesterday,” Sowa wrote. “We will not be commenting further.”

Sowa did not immediately respond to a request for all district attorney policies related to its review of police officers.

Separately, Fall River Captain Barden Castro told Target 12 on Thursday his department will likewise not release the officers’ names because he’s been told the investigation is still considered open. Target 12 has requested departmental policy that shows an officer’s name shouldn’t be released publicly after a fatal shooting.

“The requested information will not be released at this time,” he said in an email, adding that the department has launched its own investigation into whether departmental policies and procedures were followed.

According to the review, Quinn said Harden became uncooperative with police and when one of them reached for handcuffs, Harden grabbed a knife and lunged at the male officer. He tried several times to stab the officer in the head and neck area, according to the report.

After Harden pinned the male officer to the wall, the female officer shot Harden twice. Quinn concluded the officer’s use of force was not excessive because “two shots were reasonable under the circumstances” to prevent the officer from being injured or dying.

Harden’s family quickly disputed the findings, calling them insufficient and contrary to their own examination of what happened and interviews that happened in the wake of Harden’s death.

“I think we have a long fight ahead of us, and this is just the beginning,” Harden’s brother Eric Mack told 12 News on Wednesday.

Eli Sherman (esherman@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter for 12 News. Connect with him on Twitter and on Facebook.

Shaun Towne contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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