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Legacy of Torture


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From left: Hank Jones, John Bowman (deceased), Ray Boudreaux, Harold Taylor, and Richard Brown, also known as The San Francisco Eight.  Source: Scott Braley

In 1971, John Young, a San Francisco police officer was killed. Members of the Black Panther party were arrested, charged and then tortured by San Francisco and New Orleans police. Courts eventually dismissed the charges based on the police extracting confessions via torture. Now more than 35 years later, the case has been reopened. On January 23rd, 2007, some of those same men were arrested again.

In this special documentary from the Freedom Archives, we hear from some of the accused men themselves. They describe the torture and how they were targeted for their political activities.


Ray Boudreaux, John Bowman, Richard Brown, Hank Jones and Harold Taylor, former Black Panthers; Soffiyah Elijah, attorney.

Senior Producer/Host: Tena Rubio
Freelance Associate Producer: Emily Polk
Mixing Engineer: Phillip Babich
Intern: Alexis McCrimmon

For more information:

Committee for Defense of Human Rights (CDHR) – Defend the San Francisco Eight – Pasadena, CA

The Freedom Archives – San Francisco, CA

Center for Constitutional Rights
Report on these recent arrests and torture:

“A Legacy of Torture: From Cointelpro to the Patriot Act”

“Arrest of Former Black Panthers Aims to Erase Revolutionary Legacy”


“John Bowman remembered at the African American Art and Culture Complex”

Profile of Richard Brown and Richard O’Neal (ABC News story)

Review of this program on PRX (Public Radio Exchange):

Posted: 3-20-2007
Reviewer: Michael Johnson, Producer, Trainer, San Francisco, CA

Several former Black Panthers speak out abuot their past experience of torture at the hands of the police 36 years agoafter the unsolved murder of a San Francisco polce officer. . After having their cases dismissed because of confessions construed under torture, they were rounded up just in the last years, and questioned about associations with terrorist groups. In this chilling half half hour, their graphc descriptions of torture ad the connections to the current “war on terror” remind us of how precious our human rights are.

Rating: 4/5
Adjectives: Disturbing, Political, Provocative

Author: Radio Project

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