Friday, February 02, 2007

Bogus Charges Against Former Panthers Exposed

Committee for the Defense of Human Rights

Former Panthers Arrested on 30-year Old Charges

"The same people who tried to kill me in 1973 are the same people who are here today, in 2005, trying to destroy me. None of these people have ever been charged with anything." John Bowman - 1947-2006

Murder Charges Against Former Black Panthers Based on Confessions Extracted by Torture

Eight former Black Panthers were arrested January 23rd in California, New York and Florida on charges related to the 1971 killing of a San Francisco police officer. Similar charges were thrown out after it was revealed that police used torture to extract confessions when some of these same men were arrested in New Orleans in 1973.

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 for several days employing electric shock, cattle prods, beatings, sensory deprivation, plastic bags and hot, wet blankets for asphyxiation.

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Profiles of the Nine

Herman Bell, 59, of Louisiana, a political prisoner in New York since 1978. Cointelpro's "pattern of manipulation and lies, continuing into the present, indicates something more than the ordinary corruption and racism of everyday law enforcement. It can be understood only in terms of the power of the political movement that [we] were part of, and the intensity of the government's efforts to destroy that movement and to disillusion and intimidate future generations of young activists." Write to him - # 79C-0262, Sullivan Correctional Facility, Box 116, Riverside Drive, Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116. More about Herman.

Ray Boudreaux, 64, of Altadena. "Actually for the last 25 years I've lived a pretty peaceful and quiet life. My politics are still the same. It's just that I'm not active. People come to me sometimes as a peacemaker. And all of that has to do with all of my experience." Write to him - 2301300, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco CA 94103.

Richard Brown, 65, of San Francisco. "For the past six years I have been a Community Court Judge Arbitrator working with the San Francisco District Attorney's office. We place a lot of emphasis on restorative justice, so most of the community service done will be done in our own community where the offender can give back to the community." Write to him - 2300819, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco CA 94103.

Henry W. (Hank) Jones, 70, of Altadena. "I [have lived] under the constant threat of another ... incarceration. In essence I have been robbed of peace of mind, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I am therefore compelled to resist these tactics and inform the public of my recent experience, feeling that something similar could happen to anyone given the climate of fear, paranoia, and abuse of authority that is rampant in our country today." Write to him - 2301301, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco CA 94103.

Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Bottom), 55, of San Francisco, a political prisoner in New York since 1978. "The United States does not recognize the existence of political prisoners. To do so would give credence to the fact of the level of repression and oppression, and have to recognize the fact that people resist racist oppression in the United States, and therefore, legitimize the existence of not only the individuals who are incarcerated or have been captured, but also legitimize those movements of which they are a part." Write to him - # 77A4283, Auburn Correctional Facility, 135 State Street, P.O. Box 618, Auburn, NY 13024. More about Jalil.

Richard O'Neal, 57, of San Francisco. Richard works as a custodian for the city. He had previously worked at the city's Hall of Justice and has been a city employee for more than 25 years. Write to him - 2300818, 850 Bryant Street, San Francisco CA 94103.

Harold Taylor, 58, of Panama City. "In 1971, two brothers and I were set up by the FBI. We didn't learn about COINTELPRO until years later. In 1973 I was arrested in New Orleans and was beaten and tortured for several days. In 2003 the detectives that were responsible for my torture came to my house to try and question me. I have not been the same since." Write to him - M502, 5600 Nehi Road, Panama City, FL 32405.

Francisco Torres, 58, of New York City. Address coming later.

Ronald Stanley Bridgeforth, 62, has not been found by the police.

About the Committee for Defense of Human Rights

The mission of the Committee for Defense of Human Rights is to draw attention to human rights abuses perpetrated by the government of the United States and law enforcement authorities which were carried out in an efforft to destroy progressive organizations and individuals. By building coalitions with organizations and groups that advocate for human and civil rights CDHR hopes to bring an end to these abuses. CDHR's basic principles are set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention against Torture.

Committee for the Defense of Human Rights
P.O. Box 90221
Pasadena, CA 91109
(626) 345-4939

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