While the continued torture by the United States government at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Graib are fresh in the minds of the people around the world, The U.S. has opened up a new front on its continued assault against people of color and human rights. The recent arrests of several former Black Panthers and community activist is a further attempt to criminalize the history of the Black Liberation and Civil Rights Movement and to scare us into accepting the continued domination of the U.S. as we seek self-determination as a people.
On the morning of January 23, 2006 a task force operation of local San Francisco police officers and U.S. government authorities desperately continued to uphold the legacy of Cointelrpo by kidnapping and arresting community elders: Hank Jones, Harold Taylor, Jalil Mutaquim, Richard Brown, Francisco Torres, Herman Bell, Ray Boudreaux, and Ronald Bridgeforth.
This case starts In 1973 when thirteen New Afrikan freedom fighters were arrested in New Orleans in connection to a 1971 shooting of a San Francisco police officer. With no evidence linking these men, charges were filed and the police in coordination with the FBI brutally beat and torture their captives in an attempt to get confessions. As captured in the film “A Legacy of Torture: The War Against the Black Liberation Movement”, both John Bowman and Harold Taylor give first hand, horrifying accounts of how San Francisco and New Orleans Police terrorized them by using such inhumane acts as sticking electric probes to their genitals and severely beatings them while blindfolded. With out being told what they were being tortured for, San Francisco Police Inspectors Frank McCoy and Ed Erdlatz interrogated many of these individuals for hours. The San Francisco officers would then leave the room, so New Orleans police could physically beat and torture them. This process continued for days trying to force the detainees to agree to the inconsistent testimony Rueben Scott, also a torture victim, who decided to confess to the crime to stop the beatings (he later recanted his confession and has since given several different inconsistent versions of what he says happened). Later a judge dismissed the entire case based on the documented incidents of torture.
Decades removed from the New Orleans incident, several of these former Panthers were mistreated again in 2003 and 2005. The very same San Francisco Police Officers McCoy and Erdelatz, where deputized by the authorities to interrogate several of these brothers once again. This time the aforementioned comrades and others were subpoenaed to appear in front of grand juries to lie and snitch on many of their peers. Many refused to cooperate and were cited for contempt, spending weeks and months in jail.
Some of these freedom fighters founded the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR). Our elders have been using this formation to protect themselves from the government’s continued attacks on their lives and the mainstream media’s continued spread of false information on their cases.These assaulted members of the Black Power Movement, are a living, breathing example of the contemporary terrorism being waged on the Black Community. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement is asking all people to counter the miss information being spread to the public. For torture to end, the people must stand up, spread the truth and not let our heroes be imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. The police continue to not be held accountable for their acts of murder against the New Afrikan Community, from Fred Hampton Sr. to the killing of Sean Bell. Support our Freedom Fighters. They are not just proud black history, they are modern day political prisoners. Fight for our Heroes.