[News] SF news coverage of Legacy of Torture opening

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 29 08:54:34 EST 2007

the Roxie theater holds about 270 people and was sold out. There was 
a second showing of about 75 or so.
Thanks to all of those who came out to support these brothers!

a new website can be found at www.CDHRsupport.org.
email sign up will make it possible to get news items about further 

KRON: http://www.kron.com/
KGO: http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/front (Transcript: 

Supporters rally for 8 former black militants accused in \'71 police killing
  The Associated Press

Lawyers and civil rights activists rallied support Sunday for eight 
former black militants arrested in the 1971 killing of a police 
officer, saying the men were tortured during an earlier investigation.


The original article can be found on SFGate.com here:
Sunday, January 28, 2007 (AP)
Supporters rally for defendants in '71 San Francisco cop slaying
By MARCUS WOHLSEN, Associated Press Writer

    (01-28) 16:45 PST San Francisco (AP) --

    Lawyers and civil rights activists rallied support Sunday for eight former
black militants arrested in the 1971 slaying of a police officer, saying
the men were tortured during an earlier investigation of the murder.

    At a news conference held before the premiere of a documentary detailing
the decades-old abuse allegations, supporters described last week's
arrests as part of a law enforcement vendetta against the Black Panthers
and other black liberation groups that has lasted 40 years.

    "The case began in torture. It's now moved into fabricated evidence," said
Stuart Hanlon, a lawyer for one of the men accused of storming the lobby
of a San Francisco police station nearly 36 years ago, and killing Sgt.
John V. Young, 51, with a shotgun and injuring a civilian clerk.

    Prosecutors describe the men as former members of the Black Liberation
Army, a violent offshoot of the Black Panthers, and say Young's murder was
part of the BLA's broader conspiracy of violence against law enforcement
in the 1960s and 70s.

    Recent analyses of old shotgun shells and a fingerprint on a cigarette
lighter left at the crime scene provided new evidence that led to
Tuesday's arrests, according to court papers filed by prosecutors.

    "We believe that the evidence we have put together is more than enough to
prove beyond a reasonable doubt that these men are responsible for this
terrible crime," said Nathan Barankin, a spokesman for California Attorney
General Jerry Brown.

    Arrested Tuesday on charges of murder and conspiracy were: Harold Taylor,
58, of Panama City, Fla.; Francisco Torres, 58, of Queens, New York;
Richard Brown, 65, of San Francisco; Ray Michael Boudreaux, 64, of
Altadena; Henry Watson Jones, 71, of Altadena; Herman Bell, 59, and
Anthony Bottom, 55, both of whom are currently incarcerated in New York.

    Richard O'Neal, 57, of San Francisco, was arrested on a charge of

    A ninth suspect, Ronald Bridgeforth, is believed to have fled the country.

    Three BLA members, including Taylor, were indicted in 1975 for killing
Young. The case was eventually dismissed because the men had allegedly
been tortured by police officers during interrogations.

    In "Legacy of Torture," a documentary that debuted Sunday, Taylor
described being beaten, shocked and suffocated by New Orleans police
before being questioned by two San Francisco police detectives
investigating the case.

    "I followed their whole script. Everything they told me to say, I said
it," Taylor said in the film, claiming torture was used to coerce him into
making a false confession.

    Wayne Thomspon, a legal investigator for a San Francisco law firm
representing one of the men charged in 1975, said Sunday he interviewed
the men while they were being held in the New Orleans jail and saw clear
signs of physical abuse.

    "This government has continued to hound these men and continued to seek to
persecute" them, Thompson said. "It's a very sad day for me."

    New Orleans police spokeswoman Bambi Hall said the department had no
knowledge of the case. Phone messages left Sunday with the San Francisco
Police Department were not immediately returned.

    State prosecutors were "not relying on any statements that were made in
Louisiana for this prosecution," Barankin said.

    Boudreaux, Brown, Jones and Taylor had all been scheduled to appear at the
film's premiere before they were arrested and jailed.

    The four men were also jailed briefly in 2005 when they refused to answer
grand jury questions regarding the case. After they were freed, they went
public to protest their treatment, speaking to activist and community
groups and gaining the support of Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree
and actor Danny Glover.

    Soffiyah Elijah, deputy director of the Criminal Justice Institute at
Harvard Law School, spoke at the premiere. She compared the alleged abuse
of BLA members to the police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King
and the mistreatment of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib.

    "It's commonplace for law enforcement to claim that they don't torture
people, and in the end we always find out that they're lying," Elijah

    Elijah said it was "yet to be determined" whether she or Ogletree would be
directly involved in the eight men's defense.

    Glover was expected to attend Sunday's screening but was delayed in
transit, said Claude Marks, the film's producer.

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