Monday, June 8, 2009

Crowd demands: Drop the Charges

A spirited picket line of some 300 people filled the block in front of the San Francisco County Courthouse chanting "Drop the charges" and "Free the eight." The June 8 rally loudly announced that the community will not allow the persecution of the San Francisco 8 to go forward without a concerted struggle.


The picket line was joined by SF Supervisor Eric Mar, who called the San Francisco 8 case "COINTELPRO 2009" referring to the FBI counter-intelligence program carried out with local police agencies to destroy the Black Panther Party.

The Brass Liberation Orchestra maintained the tempo as the crowd and defendants Richard Brown, Hank Jones, Harold Taylor and Cisco Torres marched along, prompting Ray Boudreaux, another of the eight to remark that "this demonstration takes me back to New Orleans." The marchers raised the spirit so that they could be heard inside the jail by Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim, who remain locked up at the same location.

Soffiyah Elijah, one of the lawyers for the eight, thanked the crowd and announced after a day of closed hearings that the preliminary hearing was scheduled to start on Monday, July 6. (See later post, above for the resolution.) The defendants, their support committee and defense attorneys say that the eight are innocent, that they cannot get a fair trial because too much time has passed, that there is no new evidence, missing evidence, and that the prosecution's case relies on statements made under torture in New Orleans and ruled illicit in the 1970s. This same case was dropped over 30 years ago by the San Francisco District Attorney.

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