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News :: Human Rights : Organizing : Race
Demonstration to Free the San Francisco 8: Protests against U.S. Torture and Racism
14 Feb 2007
Boston, MA, February 14th • Activists, students, teachers and church leaders from the groups Coast to Coast Solidarity-Boston and Queers Against Prison-Boston rallied this morning at South Station followed by a string of banner appearances and educational events across the city. This demonstration was part of a national call to action demanding lower bail and the release of the San Francisco 8. Eight former Black Panthers were arrested January 23rd, 2007 in California, New York and Florida on charges related to the 1971 killing of a San Francisco police officer. Similar charges were thrown out, over 30 years ago, after it was revealed that police used torture to extract confessions when some of these same men were arrested in New Orleans in 1973.
Lower Their Bail: Free the San Francisco 8
Richard Brown, Richard O'Neal, Ray Boudreaux, and Hank Jones were arrested in California. Francisco Torres was arrested in Queens, New York. Harold Taylor was arrested in Florida. Two men charged have been held as political prisoners for over 30 years – Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim are both in New York State prisons. A ninth man -- Ronald Stanley Bridgeforth – is still being sought. The men were charged with the murder of Sgt. John Young and conspiracy that encompasses numerous acts between 1968 and 1973.

Harold Taylor and John Bowman (recently deceased) as well as Ruben Scott (thought to be a government witness) were first charged in 1975. But a judge tossed out the charges, finding that Taylor and his two co-defendants made confessions after police in New Orleans tortured them. Their torture lasted for several days, with police employing electric shock, cattle prods, beatings, sensory deprivation, plastic bags and hot, wet blankets for asphyxiation.

Information sharing, bright displays, and speak outs have been organized to testify that Bostonians will not stand for this abuse of good people who fight for justice. Demands for the freedom of the San Francisco 8, all political prisoners and an end to prison expansion in Massachusetts rang out clearly.

"Despite the recent birthday of the President who issued the Emancipation Proclamation, we still see slavery legal and in full effect within the prison industrial complex. The issue that needs addressed is a broader, underlying force of systemic, institutionalized white supremacy, but today, we rally specifically to show support and solidarity with the San Francisco 8" said Jason Lydon, the Director of Community Church of Boston.

Danni West, one of the organizers for today's actions, reminded the assembled people that, "as northerners, we cannot allow ourselves to forget that the confessions which these ridiculous criminal complaints are based upon, were extracted through torture in the city of New Orleans. As we push for the freedom of the San Francisco 8, may we keep the humin-made disasters in the gulf, the torture caused by the government in the face of the storms barely a year and a half ago, in our hearts as well."

For further information visit:


Photos by Jonathan McIntosh
Lower Their Bail: Free the San Francisco 8
Lower Their Bail: Free the San Francisco 8
Lower Their Bail: Free the San Francisco 8
Lower Their Bail: Free the San Francisco 8

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San Francisco 8 strong in court appearance
15 Feb 2007
San Francisco 8 strong in court appearance today
by Claude Marks

Wednesday, February 14

In a significant showing of support, family and friends of four of the San Francisco 8 packed the San Francisco courtroom of Judge Little. Many people were unable to actually get in. As the four, Ray Boudreaux, Richard Brown, Hank Jones and Richard O'Neal, were brought into the courtroom in shackles, supporters burst into applause. The large showing of Sheriffs and SWAT officers cleared the courtroom. People gathered in the hallway outside Department 12 chanting "No justice, no peace." Defense attorneys objected to closing a public hearing and the Judge agreed to let people back into court if they agreed to not be noisy, but only after every
individual was again searched by Sheriffs and was wanded with metal detectors.

Unlike their previous court appearances since the arrests in January, the men were shackled in court as close to a dozen sheriffs, deputies and SWAT officers were inside the courtroom. The hearing opened with defense attorneys arguing for reduced security at the courthouse and the unshackling of the brothers as "they represent no threat to the court or the public." It was pointed out that they had appeared voluntarily and without need of such extensive police presence during the 2005 San Francisco Grand Jury, and that the shackling and heavy security were prejudicial - especially feeding the sensationalist coverage of the corporate media. The court agreed to hear security issues in a future meeting with the Sherriff and lawyers.

None of the men have yet entered pleas in the conspiracy and murder case stemming from the killing of a SF police Officer at the Ingleside Police Station in August of 1971.

Although there has yet to be a formal Bail Hearing, Judge Little did lower the outrageous bail for Ray Boudreaux and Hank Jones from $5 million to $3 million (still outrageous), the same as was set for Richard Brown and Richard O'Neal. A formal Bail Hearing as well as other motions were scheduled for Tuesday, March 13th.
"Today's court appearance was significant in a number of ways," according to Attorney Stuart Hanlon. "The strong public support for the four men in court was a powerful reminder that these men are part of their communities and are not criminals. The Attorney General's comments made clear that they (the State Prosecutors) want to keep these men in jail on high bail and that they will make excuses to explain the 35-year delay in bringing this case. It was made clear to us that this is the beginning skirmish of a legal war with high stakes - the freedom of these eight former Panthers
and the rewriting of political history by the government criminalizing the Black Panther Party and African American freedom fighters from the sixties and seventies. It is a war we will win and that we have to win. And it is a war where the support of the community, in and out of court, is crucial."
The brothers seemed strong and in good spirits.
Information sharing
31 Jul 2007
Information sharing, bright displays, and speak outs have been organized to testify that Bostonians will not stand for this abuse of good people who fight for justice. Demands for the freedom of the San Francisco 8, all political prisoners and an end to prison expansion in Massachusetts rang out clearly.
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