On January 23, 2007, eight veteran members of the Black Panther Party – Ray Boudreaux, Richard Brown (RIP), Richard O’Neal, Hank Jones, Harold Taylor, Francisco Torres, Jalil Muntaqim and Herman Bell (imprisoned in NYS at the time) were arrested in California, New York, and Florida on charges related to the 1971 killing of a San Francisco police officer. Similar charges had been brought in 1975, but a California judge tossed them out upon finding that statements made by three of the men followed several days of torture – electric shock, cattle prods, beatings, sensory deprivation, plastic bags and hot, wet blankets for asphyxiation – by New Orleans police.
On this date In 2007, the San Francisco 8 were captured for their alleged involvement in the 1971 slaughter of a San Francisco enforcement official. Despite the case having been dismissed in the 70s following the brutal torture of several men by Louisiana officers (watch: Legacy of Torture) in order to elicit false confessions, charges were refiled in 2007.
At the time, Political Prisoners of War Jalil Muntaqim (released, 2020) & Herman Bell (released, 2018) had already been captured. Their incarceration, experiences of torture and ongoing victimization at the hands of the so-called U.S can be characterized as nothing less than genocide. In October 2021, the U.S was put on trial and found GUILTY of genocide on several counts including:
Charge 2: The hyper-incarceration of Black, Brown and Indigenous People
Charge 3: The political incarceration of civil rights and national liberation era activists and present day activists
Charge 6: The genocide of Black, Brown & Indigenous Peoples as a result of the historic and systemic charges of all the above
Each of these charges apply in the case of the San Francisco 8. The San Francisco 8 are former members of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army with a documented history of serving the people. Following the initial dismissal of the case, each of the 8 men continued to serve their communities with an undying love while fighting for the freedom of their comrades and all political prisoners. We honor them today:
- Herman Bell: Former Political Prisoner who was finally granted parole in 2018 after doing 45 years. During and beyond his incarceration he launched educational programs, mentored fellow incarcerated folks, organized community gardening projects and lead outreach for houseless youths.
- Ray Boudreaux: All charges were dismissed against Ray Boudreaux. He is a long time organizer with the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights whose mission is “to oppose human rights abuses perpetrated by the government of the United States and law enforcement authorities…”
- Richard Brown: All charges were dismissed against Richard Brown. He continued to work in the San Francisco Community on restorative justice efforts and with the African-American Community Police Relations Board until his passing in 2018.
- Hank Jones: All charges were dismissed against Hank Jones. Hank continues to organize with political prisoners and with human rights work.
- Jalil Muntaqim: Former Political Prisoner of War who was finally granted parole in 2020. During his incarceration he launched educational programs, published several essays and mentored fellow incarcerated folks. He co-founded the National Jericho movement and continues to provide support for Political Prisoners under this banner as well as in his role with the In the Spirit of Mandela Coordinating Committee.
- Richard O’Neal: All charges were dismissed against Richard O’Neal. O’Neal continued his humanitarian work in San Francisco with the Southeast Community Center.
- Harold Taylor: All charges were dismissed against Harold Taylor. Harold continues to share his story of his encounter with COINTELPRO and the brutal tortue he and his comrades endured while remaining committed to his community and politic.
- Francisco Torres: All charges have been dismiss against Francisco Torres. He has remained committed to the movement and involved in work with underserved youth.