[News] 8 arrested in 1971 cop-killing tied to Black Panthers
news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jan 23 15:56:37 EST 2007
8 arrested in 1971 cop-killing tied to Black Panthers
SAN FRANCISCO - Eight men were arrested Tuesday in the 1971 killing
of a San Francisco police officer that authorities say was part of a
militant black group's five-year campaign to kill law enforcement
officers in California and New York.
Police said seven of the eight are believed to be former members of
the Black Liberation Army, a violent offshoot of the Black Panther
Party. The Aug. 29, 1971 shooting death of Sgt. John V. Young, 51, at
a San Francisco police station was one in a series of attacks by BLA
members on law enforcement officials on both coasts, police said.
The attacks, carried out between 1968 and 1973, also included the
bombing of a police funeral in San Francisco and the slayings of two
New York City police officers, as well as three armed bank robberies
that helped fund their operations, police said.
Seven of the men, all suspected BLA members, were charged with murder
and conspiracy. They are Ray Michael Boudreaux, 64, of Altadena;
Richard Brown, 65, of San Francisco; Herman Bell, 59, and Anthony
Bottom, 55, both currently incarcerated in New York state; Henry
Watson Jones, 71, of Altadena; Francisco Torres, 58, of Queens, New
York; and Harold Taylor, 58, of Panama City, Fla.
Another suspect, Ronald Stanley Bridgeforth, 62, was still being
sought on murder and conspiracy charges. Police say he could be in
France, Belize or Tanzania.
Richard O'Neal, 57, of San Francisco, was also arrested on conspiracy
charges but has not been charged with murder. He is not believed to
have been a member of the Black Liberation Army.
The investigation of the BLA killing spree was reopened in 1999 after
"advances in forensic science led to the discovery of new evidence in
one of the unsolved cases," according to a news release from the San
Francisco Police Department.
No further details were given and police declined to elaborate.
"It could be fibers. It could be DNA. It could be other biological
evidence," said Morris Tabak, the department's deputy chief of investigations.
Bell and Bottom are each serving life sentences for the killings of
two New York police officers.
San Francisco attorney Stuart Hanlon, who represents Bell, called
Tuesday's arrests a "prosecution based on vengeance and hate from the '60s."
"There's a law enforcement attitude that they hate these people, the
Panthers," Hanlon said. "Now they're going after old men."
Several of the men charged Tuesday have already served jail time in
connection with the case.
Brown, Boudreaux, Jones and Taylor were jailed in 2005 for refusing
to answer questions before a grand jury investigating Young's death.
Three men, including Taylor, were charged in the attack in early
1975. However, those charges were dismissed by a San Francisco judge
because of an earlier ruling that evidence was obtained by torture
after the suspects were arrested in New Orleans.
Another suspect in Young's murder, John Bowman of Oklahoma, died in
December, according to his lawyer, Ann Moorman of Ukiah.
Young was killed when two men raided a police station in the city's
Ingleside neighborhood, jammed a shotgun through a hole in the
bulletproof window and fired. A civilian clerk was also injured in the blast.
San Francisco Police Chief Heather Fong said Young was a
"community-oriented police officer, decades before the term became
part of the law enforcement landscape. He worked diligently with
at-risk youth and former convicts trying to turn their lives around."
Associated Press Writers Kim Curtis and Juliana Barbassa in San
Francisco and Tom Hays in New York City contributed to this report.
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