ANTHONY HARDEN’S BACKGROUND
The investigation revealed that Anthony Harden previously engaged in acts that are relevant to determining the first aggressor in the incident that led to his death. These acts are relevant to the issues of self-defense and defense of another. At the time of his death, Anthony Harden was a 30-year-old resident of Fall River. During the time leading up to his death, Mr. Harden resided in an apartment at 120 Melville Street with his twin brother and a third person who is the owner of the building.
At the time of his death, Mr. Harden was on a GPS bracelet and confined to his home by court order. This was the result of pending charges involving a physical assault on his wife from November of 2019 in the Fall River District Court. In that case, Fall River Police responded to St. Anne’s Hospital in Fall River and spoke with Mr. Harden’s wife. Mr. Harden’s wife told police that Mr. Harden punched, slapped and strangled her during a dispute. She further told police that Mr. Harden took her phone, accused her of cheating, and threatened her with a knife. Police observed and photographed the following injuries on Mr. Harden’s wife: a swollen and bruised right eye (Wife Injury Photo 1); bruising and scratch marks on her neck (Wife Injury Photo 2), chest (Wife Injury Photo 3, Wife Injury Photo 4) and arms (Wife Injury Photo 5, Wife Injury Photo 6); and bruising on her inner thigh areas (Wife Injury Photo 7, Wife Injury Photo 8, Wife Injury Photo 9, Wife Injury Photo 10, Wife Injury Photo 11, Wife Injury Photo 12). The injuries observed on Mr. Harden’s wife’s face and body were consistent with her description of the assault that Mr. Harden inflicted on her. As a result of this assault, Mr. Harden’s wife sought and was granted a restraining order.
After taking the complaint from his wife, police responded to Mr. Harden’s residence. When police knocked at the front door of his home, Mr. Harden opened the door. After the door was opened, police observed Mr. Harden screaming while holding his then five-month-old daughter and a small sword. When police observed this behavior, his possession of a weapon, and the infant child, the police backed away from the door. Mr. Harden then closed and locked the door, requiring the police officers to make a forced entry into the apartment. After police gained entry into the apartment and made repeated commands to Mr. Harden to drop the sword, Mr. Harden eventually dropped the sword. Although he no longer had the sword, Mr. Harden refused to put the infant down and comply with police requests. During this time, Mr. Harden repeatedly threatened the police with “squeezing [the infant] to death” if the police tried to “rush” him.
During this time, Mr. Harden also made several statements about committing suicide. Mr. Harden selectively recorded his exchange with police (FB Stream 1, FB Stream 2, FB Stream 3, FB Stream 4, FB Stream 5, FB Stream 6). In one recording, Mr. Harden is holding his daughter while saying, “These are some cool cops, but they’re going to have to kill a n***** today or meet my demands because I’m not giving in…” (FB Stream 7) After three and a half hours of a standoff, Mr. Harden eventually agreed to hand his child to a police officer and he was taken into custody.
As a result of these incidents, Mr. Harden was charged with domestic violence offenses and reckless endangerment of a child. After a dangerousness hearing in the Fall River District Court, a judge released Mr. Harden on a GPS bracelet and ordered him confined to his home. That home was 120 Melville Street where Mr. Harden resided at the time of his death. This criminal case was scheduled for trial in December of 2021. During the pendency of this case, Mr. Harden was found in violation of his terms and conditions of release by communicating threats to his wife.
Mr. Harden’s girlfriend told investigators that she believed he had mental health issues. To her knowledge, Mr. Harden was not being treated. Mr. Harden’s brother believed that Mr. Harden was diagnosed with ADHD and did not believe him to be on any medication. Other family members indicated that Mr. Harden was actively seeking mental health treatment but was not currently receiving services or on any medication.