[Ppnews] "It took over 4 1/2 years to win this case!" said Francisco Torres

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Sep 7 16:19:11 EDT 2011

“The Court, having considered the Stipulation of 
Facts submitted by the parties
together with the 
previously submitted motion to dismiss, IT IS 
HEREBY ORDERED that this case be dismissed.”

Dated August 18, 2011
Philip J. Moscone, Judge of the Superior Court

So concludes a case that was initiated in a Joint 
Terrorism Task Force investigation in 2003, grand 
jury investigations that locked up former 
Panthers in 2005, and charged eight brothers in January of 2007.

"It took over 4 1/2 years to win this case!" said Francisco Torres.

This case starts with an attack on the Ingleside 
Police Station in August of 1971, 40 years ago, 
in which a San Francisco Police Sergeant was 
killed. At the time, the attack was claimed to be 
a response to the assassination of George Jackson 
the previous week in San Quentin.

In 1973, in a major national police agency 
offensive and Cointelpro operation designed to 
destroy the Black Panther Party, over a dozen 
Party members were arrested in New Orleans. At 
least three of the men were tortured and forced 
to sign statements regarding the Ingleside 
attack. A 1975 prosecution based on the 
torture-induced statements was thrown out of court in San Francisco.

Then, in 2005, the government’s need to promote 
an “anti-terrorism” agenda and to re-criminalize 
the history of the Black Panther Party drove the 
reopening of this cold case through a Grand Jury 
decades later. There was strong resistance to the 
Grand Jury, but in 2007 charges were brought 
against the men who become the San Francisco 8.

With the same solidarity shown in resisting the 
2005 Grand Jury, and with growing community 
support for the Brothers, and a film, The Legacy 
of Torture, which exposed the background, the San 
Francisco 8 case soon began to unravel for the 
prosecution. In an unprecedented development, 
five of the men were released on bail.

In 2008 
conspiracy charge against Francisco “Cisco” 
Torres was dropped and 
charges against five were dropped (Ray Boudreaux, 
Richard Brown, Hank Jones, Richard O'Neal and 
Harold Taylor). Jalil Muntaqim and Herman Bell, 
who have spent decades in prison as political 
prisoners, pleaded no contest to reduced charges 
of conspiracy and manslaughter with no prison 
sentences. This left a single charge against 
Cisco for the last three years, which has just been dismissed.

Four and a half years of mass support for the 
Brothers, including 
from the San Francisco Central Labor Council, the 
City Council, and 
San Francisco Supervisors, have broken the back 
of a vindictive prosecution organized by Homeland 
Security, the FBI, and then California Attorney 
General (now Governor) Jerry Brown.

The Stipulation of Facts leading to the final 
dismissal of the case against Francisco Torres includes:
·         The loss of the alleged murder weapon
·         Statements about their torture by three 
men arrested in New Orleans – (police tortured 
them for several days employing electric shock, 
cattle prods, beatings, sensory deprivation, 
plastic bags and hot, wet blankets for asphyxiation)
·         Insufficient evidence to prove guilt
·         After three decades, memories faded, 
witnesses died (70 people have died including 
John Bowman – who was one of those tortured in 
New Orleans) , and evidence was “lost, destroyed 
or is otherwise unavailable” (as in illegally obtained or Cointelpro related)
·         In the 1970s, Reuben Scott, who was 
tortured, refused to testify for the prosecution, 
but suddenly, more than 30 years later changed his mind
·         Wiretap evidence was ruled not 
discoverable in 2009 (and these surveillance 
documents which could prove the Cointelpro 
campaign against the Panthers became a liability 
to the prosecution, some became lost or destroyed, or unavailable)

  “Against the backdrop of the war on terror, 
steadfast solidarity among defendants and 
supporters of all stripes prevailed over 
conventional wisdom. Again the San Francisco 8 
thank the people around the planet and especially 
the Bay. The success belongs to each and every 
one of you,” commented Ray Boudreaux.

Hank Jones declared, “There’s no doubt in my 
mind, had it not been for the solidarity 
committee and the film, Legacy of Torture, we 
would have been railroaded.  Mobilizing the way 
we did all across the country,  put the 
government on notice that we were a force to be reckoned with!”

The defense committee has vowed to keep up the 
pressure until Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim are 
back with their families and community. Hank 
Jones said, “Now that Cisco is cleared, we can 
shift our focus to building a movement to release other political prisoners.”

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