A spirited picket line of some 300 people filled the block in front of the SF County Courthouse chanting “Drop the charges” and “Free the eight.” The 8 am rally loudly announced that the community will not allow the persecution of the San Francisco 8 to go forward without a concerted struggle. The picket line was joined by SF Supervisor Eric Mar, who is introducing a resolution Tuesday to the entire SF Board of Supervisors calling on California Attorney General to “Drop the Charges.” Mar also called the San Francisco 8 case “COINTELPRO 2009” referring to the FBI counter-intelligence program carried out with local police agencies to destroy the Black Panther Party.
The Brass Liberation Orchestra – http://brassliberation.org/ – maintained the tempo as the crowd and defendants Richard Brown, Hank Jones, Harold Taylor and Cisco Torres marched along prompting Ray Boudreaux, another of the eight, to remark that “this demonstration takes me back to New Orleans.” The marchers raised the spirit so that they could be heard inside the jail by Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim, who remain locked up inside the jail at the same location.
Soffiyah Elijah, one of the lawyers for the eight, thanked the crowd and announced after a day of closed hearings that the preliminary hearing would actually start on Monday, July 6th. The preliminary hearing is expected to last weeks, and will determine if these men should stand trial. The defendants, their support committee and defense attorneys say that the eight are innocent, that they cannot get a fair trial because too much time has passed, that there is no new evidence, missing evidence, and that the prosecution’s case relies on statements made under torture in New Orleans and ruled illicit in the 1970s. This same case was dropped over 30 years ago by the San Francisco District Attorney.