[Ppnews] Lawyers Guild Condemns Racist Arrests of Black Panthers

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Feb 14 14:54:45 EST 2007



For Immediate Release February 13, 2007
Lawyers Guild Condemns Racist Arrests of Black Panthers
Evidence Against Men Obtained Through Torture

San Francisco  The National Lawyers Guild of the 
San Francisco Bay Area (NLGSF) condemns the 
arrests and prosecution of eight men believed to 
be former members of the Black Liberation Army as 
an attempt to validate political repression, 
retaliation and state torture.  A court hearing 
is scheduled for February 14 at 9:00 a.m. at the 
Superior Court, 850 Bryant Street in San Francisco.

The alleged crime, the killing of San Francisco 
police officer John V. Young, took place nearly 
three decades ago.  In purposely removing the 
trial from the context of its time, the 
prosecution seeks to capitalize on the change in 
public consciousness surrounding the Civil Rights 
and Black Power movements and cast the defendants 
as violent militants.  “There has never been any 
reliable evidence connecting these men to the 
alleged crime, but times have changed and 
prosecutors may believe this is the best shot 
they have,” said Carlos Villarreal, Executive 
Director of the NLGSF.  “At the time people were 
more aware of the violence committed by law 
enforcement against African Americans and radical political movements.”

The state is also attempting to deny its 
involvement in torturing several of the 
defendants. As Stuart Hanlon, the attorney for 
one of the defendants, emphasizes, “people have 
to understand this is actual torture with cattle 
prods by New Orleans policemen, where San 
Francisco policemen were sitting outside the 
room, obviously knowing what was going on to get 
information
 torture doesn't lead to the truth. 
It leads to what the torturers want to hear.”

The Guild also sees the prosecution of these men 
as part of a renewed crackdown on activists that 
comes as law enforcement goes after environmental 
activists, animal rights activists, and real or 
perceived anarchists who rarely pose a threat to anyone.

  “The government is attempting to prosecute 
these innocent men for crimes they did not commit 
on the basis of their political beliefs.  We see 
this as part of a larger government campaign 
targeting social justice activists on the false 
premise of combating ‘domestic 
terrorism.’  Organizing against racism and police 
brutality should not make one vulnerable to state 
retaliation.”  Said Mel Campagna, Chair of the 
National Lawyers Guild Anti-Racism Committee.

The National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area 
has nearly 1,000 lawyer, law student, and legal 
worker members from Sacramento to San Jose.  We 
seek to unite the lawyers, law students, legal 
workers, and jailhouse lawyers of America in an 
organization which shall function as an effective 
political and social force in the service of the 
people, to the end that human rights shall be 
regarded as more sacred than property 
interests.  Find out more at www.nlgsf.org.

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