Letter To SF Labor Council Delegates On Cops Pressure To Rescind Resolution On SF 8
|To Our Brothers and Sisters in the San Francisco Labor Council
WE, THE undersigned union activists, delegates and concerned community members, urge you to uphold the San Francisco Labor Council resolution opposing the unjust prosecution of the San Francisco 8.
As the Labor Council Resolution states, “Therefore be it Resolved, that in the name of fairness, justice and human rights – and to express our outrage that this prosecution based on coercion and tortured ‘confessions’ in this 36-year-old case would be allowed to proceed – that the San Francisco Labor Council calls on California Attorney General Jerry Brown to drop all charges against the San Francisco 8 defendants.”
The resolution was originally passed on February 9th as part of an open and democratic process:
1. Social Justice Committee discussed the SF 8 case at its Nov.'08, and Jan. and Feb. '09 meetings, and voted unanimously to bring the resolution to the Council.
2. At the February 9th council meeting the Social Justice Committee introduced one of the SF8 defendants, Richard Brown, who spoke to the delegates, receiving a warm welcome. Under new business, after extensive discussion, the SF8 resolution was amended and then passed resoundingly, with no dissenting votes. No officer or delegate raised any objection to the resolution.
3. The resolution was then posted on the SF Labor Council website, signed by the executive director.
4. At the Feb. 23rd council meeting, delegates approved, without objection, the minutes of the Feb. 9 meeting, signed by the executive director. These minutes reported on the adoption of the SF8 resolution. No officer or delegate present at the Feb. 23rd meeting raised any objection to the resolution.
It was only after a public attack on the resolution by Gary Delagnes, head of the San Francisco Police Officers Association, that five members of the Executive Committee backtracked on the resolution and called for it to be rescinded. The statement by Mr. Delagnes is classic McCarthyism, filled with half-truths and unfounded charges.
The Labor Council has a proud history of standing up for social justice in the face of controversy and intimidation. This is not the time to take a step backwards.
San Francisco Labor Council Resolution - Adopted February 9, 2009
Calling for Attorney General Jerry Brown to dismiss all charges against the San Francisco 8 defendants
Whereas, Herman Bell, Ray Boudreaux, Richard Brown, Henry (Hank) Jones, Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Bottom), Harold Taylor and Francisco Torres, seven men collectively known as the San Francisco 8 defendants [charges having been dropped against Richard O’Neal], are a group of community activists who have devoted their lives to serving their communities and making a difference, and are fathers, grandfathers, even [great] grandfathers; and
Whereas, all of these men were members or associates of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPP), a primary target of the FBI’s unconstitutional COINTELPRO program in the late 1960s and early ‘70s, a program designed to disrupt and destroy a number of progressive organizations in many United States cities; and
Whereas, in 1973, three Black activists – including one of the defendants – were arrested in New Orleans and tortured by local police, and interrogated by two San Francisco police detectives at intervals between the torture, which lasted several days, during which the three men were separated from each other, stripped naked, covered with wool blankets soaked in boiling water, beaten with slapjacks, suffocated with plastic bags tied over their heads, sleep deprived, kicked, beaten, shocked with electric cattle prods on their genitals, anus and under the neck; and
Whereas, statements resulting from the New Orleans torture were used to bring charges in the mid-1970s in several jurisdictions (including charges for the 1971 killing of a San Francisco police officer); all of these charges were dismissed when the judges learned that these ‘confessions’ had been coerced under torture; and
Whereas, in 2007, after 36 years, the prosecution re-filed the charges against the San Francisco 8 based on the same tortured ‘confessions’ illegally obtained in 1973. By September 2007, 6 of the 8 who were eligible for bail were released thanks to the support of their families and supporters, who saw the case as a continuation of the COINTELPRO attack on the Black liberation movement; and
Whereas, this case was reopened based on questionable claims of "new" evidence; and
Whereas, the San Francisco District Attorney’s office declined to renew the prosecution of these community activists, but the California Attorney General imposed the current prosecution of this case, and the jail and court costs of potentially millions of tax dollars to be incurred by the City of San Francisco;
Therefore be it Resolved, that in the name of fairness, justice and human rights – and to express our outrage that this prosecution based on coercion and tortured ‘confessions’ in this 36-year-old case would be allowed to proceed – that the San Francisco Labor Council calls on California Attorney General Jerry Brown to drop all charges against the San Francisco 8 defendants;
And be it further Resolved, that this resolution be forwarded to affiliates for concurrence and action.
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