Tuesday, June 02, 2009
If you torture confessions out of people, and use those confessions as evidence, how do you ever know what the truth is? I can torture you into saying your mother murdered Abraham Lincoln, that doesn't make it so. Should I arrest and imprison your mom? What will she say about you, when I torture her?
In less than one week, the San Francisco 8 - former Black Panthers and other activists - will have a preliminary hearing in San Francisco. They are being charged with the murder of a police officer in 1971. The charges are based on confessions extracted by torture, and it is clear that the indictments against these men are an attempt to rewrite the history of the Black Panthers and the gains of the Civil Rights movement. Take action today and support the San Francisco 8.
In 1973, New Orleans police employed torture over the course of several days to obtain information from members of the Black Panthers about the death of Sergeant John Young, an officer of the San Francisco Police Department. The men were stripped naked, beaten, blindfolded, covered in blankets soaked with boiling water and had electric probes placed on their genitals, among other methods. In 1974, a court ruled that both San Francisco and New Orleans police officers had engaged in torture to extract a confession, and a San Francisco judge dismissed charges against three men in 1975 based on that ruling.
In January 2007, eight elder activists - Richard Brown, Richard O'Neal, Ray Boudreaux, Hank Jones, Francisco Torres, Harold Taylor, Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim - were arrested after a grand jury convened in San Francisco to reopen the case.
The state Attorney General of California initiated the prosecution of the San Francisco 8, and he is the person who has the power to stop it. Put the pressure on and write Attorney General Jerry Brown to demand the charges against these activists be dropped.
Stand for justice and support the San Francisco 8 today.
CCR Director of Education and Outreach