San Francisco courtroom cleared
in 1971 cop-killing arraignment
By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service
February 14, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - A judge cleared a San Francisco
courtroom this morning after the audience cheered four men accused
of conspiracy and murder in a Black Liberation Army attack on
the city's police over 35 years ago.
The onlookers, some in wheelchairs and many walking with canes,
jammed the courtroom and erupted in applause against Superior
Court Judge Donna Alyson Little's orders. Bailiffs escorted the
defiant crowd outside the courtroom where they began to chant,
"No justice, no peace."
After attorney objections to closing a public hearing, however,
Little allowed the onlookers to file in, threatening to bar individuals
permanently of they further disrupted the court.
Ray Michael Boudreaux, 64, Richard Brown, 65, and Henry Jones,
71, did not enter pleas today on charges of murdering San Francisco
police Sgt. John Young at the Ingleside police station on the
night of Aug. 29, 1971.
Richard O'Neal, a 57-year-old San Francisco resident, is not
charged in the death of Young, but he is being prosecuted alongside
the other men on conspiracy charges. He also did not enter a plea
Attorneys for the men say their clients are hard-working members
of society and that the case is a sham. All joined today in a
motion to dismiss the case.
The lawyers also objected to the shackling of their clients,
stating that there is no reason to believe they are dangerous.
The courtroom was filled with several sheriff's deputies, and
outside there was more security, including several San Francisco
The judge agreed that the four men were honest members of the
community with clean criminal backgrounds in the last decades.
She said the shackles could come off for the next hearing, scheduled
for March 13, if the sheriff's department agrees.
Little also lowered the bail of two men so that all four defendants
are held on $3 million.
State prosecutors objected, stating the serious nature of the
crime. They say eight men are responsible for the cold-blooded
military-style attack on Young and a civilian clerk at the police
Also charged in the case are Herman Bell, 59, and Anthony Bottom,
55, who are both in custody in New York; Francisco Torres, 58;
Harold Taylor, 58; and Ronald Stanley Bridgeforth, 62. Bridgeforth
is currently at large.
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