8 Arrests In 1971 Police Killing In S.F.

Marcus Wohlsen, AP, Jan. 23, 2007

Eight men were arrested Tuesday in the 1971 slaying of a police officer that authorities say was part of a black power group’s five-year campaign to kill law enforcement officers in San Francisco and New York.

Police said seven of the eight are believed to be former members of the Black Liberation Army, an offshoot of the Black Panther Party.

The Aug. 29, 1971, shooting death of Sgt. John V. Young, 51, at a San Francisco police station was one in a series of attacks by BLA members on law enforcement officials on both coasts, police said.

The attacks, carried out between 1968 and 1973, also included the bombing of a police funeral in San Francisco and the slayings of two New York City police officers, as well as three armed bank robberies.

The arrests were just the latest attempt in recent years to hold antiwar radicals and black-power militants responsible for crimes committed a generation ago.

The investigation of the Black Liberation Army killing spree was reopened in 1999 after “advances in forensic science led to the discovery of new evidence in one of the unsolved cases,” the San Francisco Police Department said in a statement.

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Murder and conspiracy charges were filed against Ray Michael Boudreaux, 64, of Altadena; Richard Brown, 65, of San Francisco; Herman Bell, 59, and Anthony Bottom, 55, both behind bars in New York state; Henry Watson Jones, 71, of Altadena; Francisco Torres, 58, of New York City; and Harold Taylor, 58, of Panama City, Fla.

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Richard O’Neal, 57, of San Francisco, was also arrested on conspiracy charges. He is not believed to have been a member of the Black Liberation Army.

A ninth suspect, Ronald Stanley Bridgeforth, 62, was still being sought. Police said he could be in France, Belize or Tanzania.

The slain officer was killed when two men raided a neighborhood police station, firing a shotgun through a hole in a bulletproof window. A civilian clerk was wounded.

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Bell and Bottom are serving life sentences for the killings of two New York police officers.

Another suspect in Young’s slaying, John Bowman of Oklahoma, died in December, according to his lawyer, Ann Moorman of Ukiah.

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