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Indybay Feature
Thu Jan 25 2007 (Updated 02/02/07)
Former Black Panthers Arrested And Indicted In 1971 Homicide
Charges Based on Evidence Obtained Through Torture
The film "Legacy of Torture: The Ongoing War Against the Black Panthers" was screened at the Roxie Cinema in San Francisco on Sunday, January 28th. At 3pm, there was a memorial tribute to John Bowman at the African American Cultural Center. Screenings of "Legacy of Torture" are taking place in Los Angeles and around the country. A national website has been set up to support the arrestees: Committee for the Defense of Human Rights

On January 23rd, New York Authorities in San Francisco announced the arrests and indictments of former Black Panthers in the 1971 killing of police officer Sgt. John V. Young-- despite the use of torture to obtain confessions. Constitutional Rights (CCR) Legal Director Bill Goodman said, "The case against these men was built on torture and serves to remind us that the U.S. government, which recently has engaged in such horrific forms of torture and abuse at places like Bagram, Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo, has a history of torture and abuse in this country as well, particularly against African Americans."

In 1973, New Orleans police employed torture over the course of several days to obtain information from members of the Black Panthers who were stripped naked, beaten, blindfolded, covered in blankets soaked with boiling water, and had electric probes placed on their genitals, among other methods. A court ruled in 1974 that both San Francisco and New Orleans police had engaged in torture to extract a confession, and a San Francisco judge dismissed charges against three men in 1975 based on that ruling. Two years ago, a grand jury convened in San Francisco to reopen the case, but several of the men involved felt they were being wrongly compelled to testify and refused to attend the proceedings.

Statement from Center for Constitutional Rights | Legacy of Torture: The War Against The Black Liberation Movement | FBI Witchhunt's Coverage of the Black Panther Grand Jury | Democracy Now: Murder Charges Against Former Black Panthers Based on Confessions Extracted by Torture
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