A group of men charged with murdering a San Francisco police sergeant in 1971 appeared in court Monday.
Thirty-six years after the Aug. 29 attack in which three men stormed into Ingleside Police Station, stuck a shotgun through a hole in the bulletproof glass at the front desk and shot Sgt. John V. Young, six of the defendants appeared at the San Francisco Hall of Justice on Monday for a hearing on evidence in the case.
Francisco Torres, 58, who was arrested in Queens, N.Y., in January, was the sixth of the so-called San Francisco Eight to post bail last week. Herman Bell, 59, and Anthony Bottom, 55, are in prison on charges of killing a police officer in New York in 1971. Attorney Stuart Hanlon said Ray Boudreaux, 64, Richard Brown, 65, Richard O’Neal, 58 and Harold Taylor, 58, posted bail in the last two weeks.
Defense attorneys are seeking to have some testimony thrown out on the grounds that it was obtained by torture. Taylor and two other men not named as suspects this year were arrested in New Orleans in 1973 and allegedly hit with cattle prods, beaten and otherwise tortured into giving police information. The evidence was later thrown out.
“If a judge has ruled already in Los Angeles, in 1975, that it was torture, we think that should be the law of the case here, especially because some of the witnesses are now dead and it can be a hard issue to put together,” Hanlon said.
The eight men charged in January were members of a group known as the Black Liberation Army, an offshoot of the Black Panthers, prosecutors say. Between 1968 and 1973, that group bombed a San Francisco police officer’s funeral and police station, killed two New York City police officers and conducted bank robberies to fund its efforts, federal investigators said in January.