Eight former Black Panthers were arrested January 23rd, 2007 in California, New York and Florida on charges related to the 1971 killing of a San Francisco police officer. Similar charges were thrown out after it was revealed that police used torture to extract confessions when some of these same men were arrested in New Orleans in 1973.
Richard Brown, Richard O’Neal, Ray Boudreaux, and Hank Jones were arrested in California. Francisco Torres was arrested in Queens, New York. Harold Taylor was arrested in Florida. Two men charged – Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim – have been held as political prisoners for over 30 years in New York State prisons. A ninth man — Ronald Stanley Bridgeforth – is still being sought. The men were charged with the murder of Sgt. John Young and conspiracy that encompasses numerous acts between 1968 and 1973.
Harold Taylor and John Bowman (recently deceased) as well as Ruben Scott (thought to be a government witness) were first charged in 1975. But a judge tossed out the charges, finding that Taylor and his two co-defendants made statements after police in New Orleans tortured them for several days employing electric shock, cattle prods, beatings, sensory deprivation, plastic bags and hot, wet blankets for asphyxiation. Such “evidence” is neither credible nor legal.
To learn more and to take action, go to the Free the SF8 website .
Herman Bell, 59, of Mississippi, a political prisoner since 1973. Cointelpro’s “pattern of manipulation and lies, continuing into the present, indicates something more than the ordinary corruption and racism of everyday law enforcement. It can be understood only in terms of the power of the political movement that [we] were part of, and the intensity of the government’s efforts to destroy that movement and to disillusion and intimidate future generations of young activists.” Write to him – 2318931, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco CA 94103.
Ray Boudreaux, 64, of Altadena. “Actually for the last 25 years I’ve lived a pretty peaceful and quiet life. My politics are still the same. It’s just that I’m not active. People come to me sometimes as a peace-maker. And all of that has to do with all of my experience.” Write to him – 2301300, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco CA 94103.
Richard Brown, 65, of San Francisco. “For the past six years I have been a Community Court Judge Arbitrator working with the San Francisco District Attorney’s office. We place a lot of emphasis on restorative justice, so most of the community service done will be done in our own community where the offender can give back to the community.” Write to him – 2300819, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco CA 94103.
Henry W. (Hank) Jones, 70, of Altadena. “I [have lived] under the constant threat of another … incarceration. In essence I have been robbed of peace of mind, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I am therefore compelled to resist these tactics and inform the public of my recent experience, feeling that something similar could happen to anyone given the climate of fear, paranoia, and abuse of authority that is rampant in our country today.” Write to him – 2301301, 425 Seventh St, San Francisco CA 94103.
Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Bottom), 55, of San Francisco, a political prisoner in New York since 1978. “The United States does not recognize the existence of political prisoners. To do so would give credence to the fact of the level of repression and oppression, and have to recognize the fact that people resist racist oppression in the United States, and therefore, legitimize the existence of not only the individuals who are incarcerated or have been captured, but also legitimize those movements of which they are a part.” Write to him – 2311826, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco CA 94103.
Richard O’Neal, 58, has worked for the City of San Francisco for 25 years, most recently at the Southeast Community Center in Bay View. “People who work there said they were stunned by his arrest, recalling him as a kind and gentle man..” (SF Chronicle) The dean of the campus noted, “He is a trusted employee who would do anything to help us..” Write to him – 2300818, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco CA 94103.
Harold Taylor, 58, of Panama City. “In 1971, two brothers and I were set up by the FBI. We didn’t learn about COINTELPRO until years later. In 1973 I was arrested in New Orleans and was beaten and tortured for several days. in 2003 the detectives that were responsible for my torture came to my house to try and question me. I have not been the same since.” Write to him – 2305584, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.
Francisco Torres, 58, of NYC was born in Puerto Rico and raised in this country. He is a Vietnam Veteran who fought for the grievances of Black and Latino soldiers upon his return to the states. A fomer Black Panther, he has been a community activist since his discharge from the military in 1969. Write to him – 2307534, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.