Legacy of Torture Cover

An excellent source of education and background on the SF 8 case produced by The Freedom Archives in 2006. This 28-minute film sets the historical context for the SF 8 case and serves as an organizing tool against grand juries and state repression.

In 2005 several former members of the Black Panther Party were held in contempt and jailed for refusing to testify before a San Francisco Grand Jury investigating a police shooting that took place in 1971. The government alleged that Black radical groups were involved in the 34-year old case in which two men armed with shotguns attacked the Ingleside Police Station, resulting in the death of a police sergeant and the injuring of a civilian clerk. In 1973, thirteen alleged “Black militants” were arrested in New Orleans, purportedly in connection with the San Francisco events. Some of them were tortured for several days by law enforcement authorities, and in 1975, a Federal Court in San Francisco threw out all of the evidence obtained in New Orleans.

30 years later, the two lead San Francisco Police Department investigators, along with FBI agents, re-opened the case. Rather than submit to proceedings they felt were abusive of the law and the Constitution, five men chose to stand in contempt of court and were sent to jail. This is their story.

“The same people who tried to kill me in 1973 are the same people who are here today, trying to destroy me. I mean it literally. I mean there were people from the forces of the San Francisco Police Department who participated in harassment, torture, and my interrogation in 1973…none of these people have ever been brought to trial. None of these people have ever been charged with anything. None of these people have ever been questioned about that.” — John Bowman, former Black Panther

  • Thanks to the Funding Exchange Emergency Fund, the LEF Foundation, the Community Futures Collective, and the John Brown Educational Fund for making this video possible.
  • Directed, produced, and edited by: Andres Alegría, Claude Marks & The Freedom Archives.
  • Music generously contributed by the late Fred Ho.
  • Participants: Former Black Panthers Ray Boudreaux, John Bowman, Richard Brown, Soffiyah Elijah, Hank Jones, and Harold Taylor.
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